Linaro ports Android to 64-bit ARM

Provides vendor neutral reference board to help smaller developers accelerate their moves to 64-bit platforms

By Caroline Gabriel

Intel stole a march on its rivals by providing early-stage 64-bit support for Android, but with Google's recent release of the developer preview of Android L, the ARM-based community will be hard on its heels. Now a 64-bit reference board, combining the ARM processor design with the open Android sourcecode, aims to accelerate uptake of this combination.

ARM's 64-bit architecture, ARMv8, is gaining rapid momentum. Some licensees, such as Qualcomm, will do their own designs and Android implementations, but Google's operating system is all about extending to all levels of the chip industry. Linaro's recently announced 64-bit reference board for developers, Juno, targets those smaller providers, and aims to encourage proliferation of 64-bit ARM/Android devices. Now it has followed that up with a full port of the open source Android code (AOSP) to ARMv8-A.

This is part of Linaro's 14.06 release and, together with the ARM Development Platform (ADP), aims to accelerate 64-bit Android availability on silicon. James McNiven, general manager of systems and software at ARM, told EETimes: "Our collaboration with Linaro will enable our partners to create devices that will drive the best next generation mobile experience on 64-bit Android operating systems, while also providing full compatibility with today's 32-bit mobile ecosystem that is optimized on ARM-v7A."

Linaro, established in 2010, seeks to create a unified Linux code base for the ARM platform, with the related goal of fending off Intel, which hurls fragmentation as one of its most powerful missiles against its chief architecture rival in the mobile world.

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