Dec. 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM ET
Android developers have released a version of 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich that is compatible with "x86" chips. That is, Android can run on chips by Intel and AMD, the ones found in most personal computers, from netbooks and laptops to desktop towers.
9to5Google spotted a message board posting about the release, which promised Wi-Fi and multitouch functionality, but no access to sound, camera, networking or hardware acceleration. The Google-watching blog reminds us that the search giant promised back in September that all future versions of Android would be friendly to Intel (and AMD) chips.
It makes sense, given the fact that there are Android tablets that have the power of typical laptops already, and in terms of basic usage, the OS could easily compete with Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Mac OS. Power users would probably steer clear, or would keep an Android version available for times when battery life is more important than functionality. That is, assuming battery life is better.
It also makes sense because it matches what Microsoft is doing, which is the reverse. In late 2012, Windows 8 will launch in two flavors, one that runs on x86 Intel and AMD chips, like the previous versions of Windows, and another that runs on ARM-based chips, which are found in tablet and phone devices that currently run Android and Apple's iOS.
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