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Freescale aims Android at embedded kit

A new Power Architecture port has taken Google's Linux-based operating system into the world of embedded devices
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Freescale Semiconductor has begun taking orders for a Power Architecture development platform for Android-based products, opening a new category of embedded devices to Google's open-source mobile operating system.

Freescale's MPC8536-ADK product combines the company's MPC8536E PowerQUICC III processor with a Power Architecture implementation of the Android OS developed by Mentor Graphics, Freescale said on Tuesday.

The port was begun by Linux development firm Embedded Alley, which was acquired by Mentor in July. Power Architecture is a broad term describing similar Risc architectures used in chips from IBM, Freescale, Tundra and others, overseen by the Power.org governing body.

According to Freescale, the port means Android can be used to run new types of embedded devices. The MPC8536E PowerQUICC III is an embedded chip aimed at the industrial, networking, storage and media equipment markets.

Possible products that can be addressed by the new development platform include multifunction printers, industrial equipment and touchscreen interfaces for system controls, the company said.

The MPC8536-ADK is aimed at the evaluation and prototyping of embedded Android applications, and ships preconfigured with an Android runtime and demonstration applications, Freescale said. The hardware and software bundle is available for order immediately and will begin shipping in the first quarter of next year.

Android was initially aimed at smartphones, but has more recently begun to appear in netbooks such as Acer's Aspire One D250.

This week Google updated the Android software development kit to support the upcoming Android 2.0, or 'Eclair', revision to the mobile operating system.

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