Android: Ice Cream for the PC

December 1, 2011, By George Lang

Sweet new operating systems (OSs) like Ice Cream Sandwich are not just for mobile computing any longer. It was only two weeks ago the Android 4.0 OS was released by Google for smartphone (i.e., ARM-chip-based processor systems). Today, the folks at the Android x86 Project have released the first build for Intel and AMD PC-processor-based systems (e.g., desktop towers and laptops).

The build is very preliminary and is lacking in audio/video, Ethernet, and hardware acceleration; particularly for Intel chips (Rothman). None-the-less, the speed at which this new OS has been engineered is astounding. Developers will now be scrambling to optimize the new Android system. reports, “The first release of Android-x86 is optimized for tablets with AMD Brazos chips including the MSI WindPad 110W or Acer Iconia Tab W500. It’s aimed at developers and [is] still a little rough around the edges” (Liliputing). WiFi and touch-screen support, however, have been built into this early iteration of the system.

The path of Android development is taking a similar route to planned releases by Microsoft in late 2012 with parallel Windows 8 OSs promised for both the PC and smartphone. That Android is getting a leg up on Microsoft is somewhat irrelevant, as Windows 8 promises to be far more developed and optimized than the open source OS by the time of its release.

It seems like only yesterday we were introduced to alphabetically-arranged iterations of Android for mobile computing with tasty names like Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb. Now, with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, the PC gets to have its just desserts as well.

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