Intel subsidiary Wind River, which specializes in embedded systems software, has hired a new mobile solutions chief and formed a mobile R&D team specifically aimed at developing software for devices based on Google’s Android mobile OS.
Alameda, Calif.-based Wind River's new engineering team is based in Stockholm, Sweden and aims to increase Wind River’s Android expertise. In addition, Wind River said it recently hired Jerry Ashford, former corporate vice president of emerging markets software at Sun Microsystems, as vice president and general manager of mobile solutions.
In a statement announcing the creation of Wind River’s new engineering team, Ashford said Android and other mobile platforms are growing increasingly popular and manufacturers are under pressure to develop devices based on Android.
“Customers can turn to Wind River for commercial-quality software solutions to rapidly develop high-quality products,” Ashford said in a statement. “Wind River has made major strides to grow the mobile business globally. In particular, we’ve achieved strong success in China, the world’s largest mobile market.”
Wind River said Ashford will report to Michael Krutz, vice president of worldwide solutions and services at Wind River, and will lead the entirety of its global mobile solutions business -- including business planning, growth strategies development and global team management.
Wind River said its R&D efforts are now concentrated toward expertise in the Android platform for devices including tablets and smartphones. Wind River said the new team will be charged with developing user experience capabilities for the Android platform, as well as enabling Android on a broader range of devices.
An Intel spokesperson on Monday told CRN that Intel’s software strategy is to support all major mobile operating systems, including Android. Intel currently provides optimizations to Android in its kernels, drivers, virtual machine, core libraries, and CTS compatibility, according ot the spokesperson.
“We work closely with software developers, service providers and OEMs to deliver cross platform Intel Architecture-based experiences across a range of devices,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve also enabled OS vendors such as Wind River to commercialize and support customer products with Android on Atom. Wind River’s plan to expand expertise on development for Android mobile solutions will further support this effort.”
The momentum around Google’s Android mobile OS, bolstered by the introduction of a range of Android-based devices at CES 2011 in January, appears to be continuing. Last week, InMobi issued its Mobile Insights Report 2011, which shows Android’s global ad impression surpassing that of Apple’s iOS for the first time. The report said Android’s overall presence has increased over the last few months.
NEXT: AMD, Intel Android Strategies
However, even as rival chip manufacturer AMD looks to add Android developers in order to support Android on its Fusion processors, and British design firm ARM continues to dominate the mobile market with processors running in several Android devices, Intel has yet to rally around the Android platform.
Intel previously said it is pursuing a multi-platform strategy that includes Windows, Android, and the MeeGo operating system which Intel developed jointly with Nokia, but which suffered a major blow when Nokia itself chose to prioritize Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS.
In addition to underscoring its Android strategy – and its parent company’s lack thereof -- Ashford’s arrival and Wind River’s addition of mobile software expertise are also part of Wind River’s overall expansion. Wind River said its number of engineers has gone up by 30 percent over the last two years. Wind River's main products include VxWorks, a proprietary real-time operating system, and Linux software for embedded applications. It also provides a range of product design services and development and testing tools.
The company said its recent R&D investments have amounted to triple-digit growth in its mobile business segment and several mobile solution design wins. It also reflects the global growth of Wind River’s mobile business, the company said, especially in the Chinese consumer market. Wind River has other development centers in the U.S., Austria, Canada, Germany, France, Israel, Romania, China, Japan and South Korea.
In December Wind River joined forces with VIA Telecom to launch Kunlunan integrated software and hardware offering, as part of a multi-year collaboration aimed at bringing Android smartphones to Chinese OEMs by combining the Wind River platform for Android with VIA Telecom's EVDO Rev.