Google's mobile OS is poised for life beyond the mobile - and the netbook. Two months after porting Google Android to its MIPS microprocessor architecture - widely used in set-top boxes, HDTVs, and other embedded devices - MIPS Technologies has open sourced the port, hoping to create a kind of Android standard for consumer …
Interesting, but useless...
The problem with MIPS is that is is very hard to find a good, modern evaluation board. I see stuff on the roadmap that includes PCI-Express, but I cannot find a single ATX board that has I/O that looks better than a 440BX chipset. I have been quite saddened by this, as I really, really like the MIPS architecture - it is a lot cleaner than x86 or even the 680x0 that I have known and loved for over a decade. But MIPS need to get off their laurels, because their Malta is simply missing too much.
MIPS needs to think about updating its boards and putting Malta out to pasture. Then, I suspect, it will see more interest. People do not program for something unless it is available - and most of us do not work for a commercial interest that is capable of designing and manufacturing its own kit.
I would like to see something like an updated MIPS board with DDR-3 memory, PCI Express and a few contemporary interfaces, like SATA-II, Firewire 800, USB 2 - and maybe one legacy PCI slot, for things that haven't made it to PCI-Express yet (like the Catweasel Mk4+, one of my favourites!) Maybe with embedded ATi or NVidia graphics (but with dedicated memory, please), a SoundBlaster (Audigy 2 ZS chipset, or similar) audio functionality - and full driver support for all devices.
I have an HTC Magic, and would the startup time which is pretty long, be the same on a home media player? That would suck.
It's 2009. I'm a bit out of touch with MIPS (printer controllers etc are where I last encountered it). Other than compatibility with their own MIPS legacy, why would a volume system builder (not a hobbyist) chose a MIPS architecture rather than ARM?
The Popcorn Hour Media Tanks Run on a MIPS chip (thats the only thing i can think of off the top of my head).
I'm confused... "open sourced"?
Hang on, they took an open-source OS and ported it. This means that the port was always open source. All they have done is make the source available independent of any (binary) software product -- the GPL would have been satisfied by simply providing the source to any purchaser of a MIPS Android product. However, as one of the purchasers would have made it publically anyway, that's a purely academic distinction.
So the story isn't "MIPS open sources living room Android port" but simply "MIPS living room Android port now available".
The topfield PVRs such as the TF5800 are MIPS based. They however have the same problem as many mobile phones. While many many devices could in theory run Android (or other Linux distros) the hardware vendors keep critical details secret, refuse to divulge them except under NDA and most likely wont even talk to open source software developers. Many promising ports have ultimately hit this brick wall.
@I'm confused... "open sourced"?
From what I can tell, Android is released under the Apache license and not the GPL, which means that a port is not necessarily open source. So MIPS would not have been compelled to make the source available with any binary distributions.
So I would argue that the story is "MIPS open sources living room Android port".
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