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Android Processor Support
By Chris De Herrera
12/1/11


Recently OEMs have released Android devices that use a different processor than the current generation of Tablets.  This article describes the concerns with the fragmentation of the Android devices standard cpu.

ARM Processors

Google has standardized on the ARM processor for Android devices.  Each Smartphone and Tablet uses an ARM processor.  This has an advantage because developers are able to create applications for both platforms without having to think about CPU compatibility.

MIPS Processors are Coming

One of the recent strategic changes that some OEMs are making is to use MIPS processors in their Android Tablets.  While MIPS and ARM processors have a lot in common such as they are both reduced instruction set (RISC) processors and very energy efficient, applications designed for an ARM processor will not run on a MIPS processor and vice versa.

Tying it All Together

With the introduction of a new processor family such as MIPS to the Android market, this will further confuse users.   The applications for that they will find in the Android Marketplace will not be compatible for their device.  So when they hear about some cool app, they won't be able to use it.  This is the kind of situation that really frustrates consumers because it is common for family members to purchase devices as a gift and the recipient won't know until they use the device that it will not be compatible with the majority of applications available.   The only good news is that generally peripherals such as microSD cards are compatible across all devices.


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