Android has really fired up everyone’s appetite in the consumer electronics market: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and now, Ice Cream Sandwich – the latest delight from the Patisserie Chez Google.

Starting with the earliest Android releases on up through the Honeycomb release this past spring, all versions of Android have shipped on MIPS-based consumer electronics platforms. The latest version about to be released by Google is Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Once Google releases the sources, MIPS and our licensees will quickly have ports ready for OEM platforms.

The whole industry is anxiously awaiting the open source release of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

When Google announced the ICS lead device back in October, some people mistakenly thought that ICS had been released. It had not been released at that time, and still has not been released by Google.

This situation is no different than the announcement/release process for all prior Android releases. Google has always followed the same process when releasing Android:

  1. Each major version of Android is developed in the context of a lead platform for that version.
  2. The lead platform device is announced and demonstrated at some date in advance of the official release of the new version of Android.
  3. At some point following the announcement of the lead platform, the new version of Android is released and sources become available for porting.

For ICS, steps 1 and 2 have now been completed.  Step 3 has not yet been completed and until it happens, no OEM, silicon vendor or processor architecture company has access to the ICS sources. Even when step 3 occurs, only the lead platform device is ready to be shipped at that moment in time, since a port of Android for that specific device alone was done by Google during its development process.

MIPS and the rest of the market will only get access to ICS when step 3 happens – whenever Google sets the date.

When it does happen, MIPS’ software engineers will immediately dig into the ICS sources and quickly produce a MIPS reference port and tool chain for use by our licensees, their OEM customers and app developers. Given our extensive experience porting previous versions of Android, we do not anticipate this will take our engineers very long. Of course, we will post updates here and on our developer website, http://developer.mips.com.

ICS is an evolutionary development of Android and clearly builds on the strengths of Honeycomb. We ported Honeycomb to the MIPS architecture early on and have continually refined that port over the course of this year. That experience will clearly accelerate the port of ICS to the MIPS architecture.

MIPS is ready and waiting to bring Ice Cream Sandwich onto our architecture and into the hands of our licensees, their OEM customers and application developers!

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