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Android on intel, windows on arm... What's next? Windows on an android vm?

Intel demos Android 2.3 on a Medfield smartphone prototype

Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin, appeared on stage at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this morning where he discussed the future of Android on Intel chips and clarified some standing questions about the status of Android's x86 architecture support.

A video that surfaced yesterday which revealed Intel's plan to officially support Gingerbread on x86 in January seemed puzzling because it didn't address the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) release. It seemed like Intel was trailing behind the pack, possibly due to lack of access to the source code. Rubin cleared things up today by saying that new versions of Android will support the x86 architecture and include optimizations for Intel's chips.

Intel and Google issued a joint statement Tuesday that emphasizes their commitment to working together in the mobile space. Intel is clearly getting a strong foothold on the Android partner A-list. During the event, Intel demoed Medfield-powered devices running the Android software platform, including a tablet reference design and a smartphone prototype. The tablet appeared to be using a build of Honeycomb and the phone was using Gingerbread.

In the joint statement, Rubin emphasized the significance of Intel's smartphone roadmap, which suggests that Intel's Android aspirations beyond the tablet form factor are quite serious.

"Combining Android with Intel's low power smartphone roadmap opens up more opportunity for innovation and choice," Rubin said. "This collaboration will drive the Android ecosystem forward."

Intel has historically struggled to deliver an Atom CPU that is practical for mainstream smartphones, but claims that its new 32nm Medfield chip is competitive on power consumption. AnandTech has a hands-on demo video of Intel's the Gingerbread smartphone prototype.

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