News out of PC World, via a variety of sources, is that Intel has ported the Android OS to their Atom CPUs intended to run in smartphones. This brings them a step closer to getting Intel Atom processors ready for the handheld market and challenging the ARM-only market.
On the hardware side, Intel has been promising tremendous energy efficiency with the Moorestown platform with claims that it will sip a fraction of the power of the current Atom processors. This would put it in solid contention with the ARM-based chips currently used in smartphones.
The software side, however, is a different story. Moorestown would still be x86, so it can’t run the same operating systems currently on ARM-based handhelds. To be competitive, they need to port those operating systems, and they’re doing so in no uncertain terms. Per Renee James, general manager of Intel’s software and services group, “Intel is enabling all OSes for Atom phones.”
Presumably that refers only to the open ones, like Android, and includes their joint project with Nokia called MeeGo. Yet, it strikes me that if they have their Android port ready to go when Moorestown drops, there’s not going to be much incentive for vendors to look into MeeGo. I suppose Intel has more than enough resources to work on both OSes, but they seem to be hedging their bets with this.