Intel wants to make it easier for device makers to build Android tablets with Intel chips. To that end, the company has launched a new program called Intel Reference Design for Android.
The idea is that Intel will provide a branch of Google Android to device makers that’s guaranteed to work with a certain set of hardware. So rather than spend time trying to find a radio, digitizer, and other components that’ll support Google’s operating system (or tweaking Android to work with your hardware), you can just pick your parts from a list offered by Intel and know that they’ll work.
Intel says it’ll offer Android updates within two weeks of Google making new releases available, which means that not only will device makers always be able to ship hardware with the latest version of Android, but they’ll also be able to offer software updates to customers that buy their tablets.
While this program could lead to a lot of Intel-powered Android tablets looking alike, Intel isn’t just providing a single reference design for building a tablet. Instead the company will enable tablet manufacturers to choose from a list of qualified components. Mix and match them and you’ve got a recipe for something (kind of) unique… and of course you can throw your own brand name on the back of the tablet.
Intel will also manage the Google Mobile Services certification processor for its partners, which means they won’t have to spend as much time and money testing software against hardware and then applying for Google certification.
Intel already offers similar reference platforms for Android phones and for some other products such as the Classmate PC line of notebooks and tablets.