Intel has announced that they’ve completed early work on an Android 4.4 KitKat kernel for their chipsets that supports 64-bit computing architecture. What does that mean?
Well, 64-bit phones won’t suddenly be gushing out of the gate tomorrow or even by the end of the year, but Intel has effectively positioned themselves to be ready for a 64-bit era should Google ever get around to making that a reality at all of the other layers of Android.
With this release, the company ported, validated and tested the Android Open Source code on [Intel Architecture], taking on the work that developers typically would need to do on their own. This release will provide the ecosystem with 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices.
With that, Intel has also publicly committed to bringing regular releases of Android code for their architecture to make it easier on OEMs and developers to make new generations of hardware with the latest versions of Android.
Intel isn’t the first manufacturer to begin doing work, as ARM was found to be adding 64-bit support to their architecture as early as November 2013. In fact, ARM is so far along that Qualcomm has already released a chipset based on the new specifications, with the Snapdragon 410 being ready and available for use.
All of this doesn’t mean much to the end user at this current point in time because Google still has to do the work of bringing 64-bit to the application frameworks and runtimes that make up the entirety of Android. Still, you’ll be glad all of this work is being done ahead of time instead of waiting for chipset vendors to catch up with Google.
Now it’s just up to Google to get the ball completely moving on a 64-bit Android (which could enable the use of more than 3GB of RAM, as well as other benefits at the lower level of computing). Let’s hope we hear something on that front at Google’s upcoming I/O developers’ conference.