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Intel releases Android 4.4.2 KitKat with a 64-bit kernel and talks about Braswell chips

During a developers conference in China, Intel released the source code for Android KitKat 4.4 with a 64-bit kernel optimized for its CPUs. It also mentioned its next-generation 14nm SoC, code-named Braswell.
April 3, 2014
Intel has been holding a developer conference in China, the biggest PC market in the world. On day two of the conference the giant chip maker released the source code for Android KitKat 4.4 with a 64-bit kernel optimized for Intel CPUs. It also launched a new Android on Intel Platforms developer resource center. The move by Intel to release a version of Android with a 64-bit kernel was expected.

Back in January  Hermann Eul, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, said the company had been making code contributions to the 64-bit version of Android 4.4 KitKat and that the kernel work was complete. Also, the Chinese tablet maker Teclast recently released details of its upcoming 64-bit Intel Bay Trail Tablet, the X98 3G.

The current Bay Trail range is also being expanded to include several new 64-bit, quad core units.
There are several layers to Android’s system architecture. The lowest layer is the Linux kernel. On top of the kernel are the various Android libraries, the Android run-time, and the different application frameworks. The top layer is the actual apps and games that users install on their devices. What Intel has done is release the source code for the bottom layer, the kernel.

Google is still working on bringing 64-bit compatibility to the rest of the layers. Intel refers to its latest Android release as being “64-bit ready.” By that it means it is “ready to support 64-bit Android when the operating system is ready and released by Google.” In other words, Intel has done the work needed to get a 64-bit kernel running on its hardware and now it is waiting for Google to catch up!


While discussing Intel’s roadmap for PCs and mobile devices, Kirk Skaugen – a senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group – revealed details of Intel’s next-generation 14nm System-on-a-Chip, code-named Braswell.

Other than mentioning the name and the fact that Braswell processors will be built using a 14nm process there are no other details about the new chips. It is thought that Braswell processors will find there way into the next generation of Chromebooks. In the mean time, Intel is pushing its 5th generation Intel Core processors, formerly code-named Broadwell, as the company’s first 14nm products.

The current Bay Trail range is also being expanded to include several new 64-bit, quad core units. These new chips are currently in production and Intel anticipates OEMs will launch both Windows and Android devices this summer. Intel thinks that some of these tablets will sell for as little as $99.