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Google and Intel to team up on Android phones and tablets

Naming a powerful ally in its quest to become the king of smartphones, Google Inc. said it was teaming up with Intel Corp. to develop software aimed at running on the chip maker’s next-generation mobile microchips.

At Intel’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, the two companies said Tuesday that Google’s Android software would be optimized for Intel’s Atom processors. Atom chips are designed to require half as much power as earlier Intel models, so are better suited for portable, battery-powered devices.

Atom chips now run in laptops and tablets from Sony, Dell, Acer and Lenovo — but have been used only in a handful of smartphones.

Intel’s decision to team up with Google comes as the search giant’s Android operating system has become the world’s bestselling smartphone software, accounting for 43% of the phones sold worldwide last quarter. By giving away its Android software to any manufacturer that wants it, Google has found that dozens of phone makers have built Android devices, including popular models from Samsung, HTC and LG.

Last month Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for $12.5 billion, the company’s largest acquisition to date. Motorola is a leading maker of Android phones, and if cleared by regulators, the purchase would allow Google to design and build its own phones. That could include the use of Intel chips.

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Meanwhile in Anaheim, longtime Intel partner (and Google rival) Microsoft Corp. touted its own mobile strategy. The Redmond, Wash., software giant said the next version of its Windows operating system, Windows 8, would run on tablets and smartphones that use a different low-power microchip model, called ARM. The chips, based on designs from the British company ARM Holdings, are built by a number of companies, including Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc.

david.sarno@latimes.com


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