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Android 4 closes on x86 architecture

Android handsets held two-thirds of the market share in Europe, according to latest data

A swathe of devices such as tablets and netbooks based on the x86 architecture are set to run Android 4 (Ice cream sandwich) from 2012, after developers successfully ported the operating system to the processor architecture.

To date, Android development has mainly focused on the support of the ARM-based processors found in most tablets and smartphones today.But open source developers from the Android-x86.org group, released a port of Android 4.0.1 for low power AMD x86 processors this week, following Google’s release of the source code earlier this month.

The development brings commercial Android devices based on popular x86 chipsets a step closer. Intel, one of the biggest makers of x86 chips, signalled its support for Android 4 at the start of November, when it was revealed that the operating system featured optimisation for an x86 architecture. The first such device based on an Intel chip could be available by mid-2012.

Meanwhile, another ARM rival, MIPS, which is a processor architecture licenses by MIPS Technologies, is also looking to get some Android action. Again, MIPS Technologies is working on a port of Android 4.0 which could lead to commercial products towards the middle of next year.

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