Chip maker Intel says Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is ready to run on phones and tablets with low power Intel Atom Medfield chips — not that there are all that many of them in the wild yet.
Still, PC World reports that once handset makers and wireless carriers are ready, they’ll be able to update those devices to run the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean brings improved responsiveness, better text input and voice recognition capabilities, and easier-to-manage home screens, among other things.
Intel is a relative newcomer to the smartphone space. Its Medfield chips are among the first x86 processors from the company which offer the kind of connectivity features and low power consumption we’ve come to expect from ARM-based chips.
Some Android apps may not play well with x86 chips unless they’re ported to run on Intel’s platform. If developers used the Android SDK to code their apps, they should be fine, but some apps developed with the Android NDK may not run unless developers port them to support x86 architecture.
Soon we’ll also see more powerful Atom chips designed for tablets like the HP Envy X2. These new chips, code-named Clover Trail, will offer more PC-like performance along with low power consumption and connected standby mode, letting your laptop or tablet connect to the internet every 15 minutes (or so) to download your latest email messages, social network updates, and other details so that the next time you turn on the device your data will be up to date.
But while Medfield is designed to work with Android (among other operating systems), Clover Trail chips are more powerful, and we’ll likely see them primarily in Windows 8 computers. In other words, the new chips (and computer that use them) will probably hit the streets by the time Windows 8 launches in late October.