Could Google insinuate its way into the cable industry? An obscure announcement from an also-ran in the market for handset chips opens that possibility.
Semiconductor maker MIPS Technologies said it is going to provide open access to the source code for its port of its MIPS microprocessor architecture to Google’s Android, a Linux-based operating system that Google designed specifically for mobile phones.
The cell phone microprocessor market is currently dominated by ARM, and is likely to continue to be for some time. So while MIPS is trying to crack that market, it aims to try to ride the soaring popularity of Android into several other markets, including set-top boxes, VoIP equipment and other consumer electronics devices.
MIPS last week demonstrated how various embedded software products can enable VoIP, video chat and other IP communications in Android-based embedded equipment and consumer electronics devices.
MIPS Technologies said it is working to define standardized Android-based platforms for consumer devices such as set-top boxes, digital TVs, mobile internet devices (MIDs), home media players and VoIP systems. Having already demonstrated Android running on a home media player and on a DTV reference design, MIPS and its partners plan to demonstrate more solutions in the coming months.
MIPS will make the source code available first to several of its development partners (yet to be named), and then plans to make the source code public.
"We are seeing an enormous amount of customer interest in Android on the MIPS architecture," said Art Swift, vice president of marketing for MIPS Technologies. "Android presents a compelling value proposition in bringing Internet connectivity and a broad range of applications to MIPS-based digital home devices. We are working closely with customers and partners to ensure that critical technologies are available for developers to take advantage of Android for consumer electronics."