Updated: While Clover Trail drops Linux, Hondo won’t support Android

AMD expects its Hondo APU to infiltrate the tablet market. We won’t see the chip to pop up in devices running Google’s Android OS any time soon, though. AMD Vice President of ultra-low-power products Steve Belt told the Inquirer that the tablet-focused processor is designed with Windows 8 in mind. The market for Windows 8 tablets is purportedly large enough that AMD doesn’t feel the need to spread itself thinly covering multiple operating systems.

Hondo won’t be a Windows-only show, however. Belt leaves the door open for Android support "down the road," and he says AMD is working on Linux support already. Linux support would nicely contrast Hondo with Clover Trail, Intel’s next-gen Atom processor. At IDF last week, Intel revealed that Clover Trail won’t support Linux. The chip isn’t necessarily incapable of running the OS, but the Inq suspects the Linux kernel may not include the hooks required to take advantage of Clover Trail’s new power-saving mojo. Intel won’t be doing the software development work to add those hooks, and it’s unclear whether the open-source community could get the job done itself.

For the mobile systems Clover Trail targets, Linux support is largely inconsequential. Intel seems to be more interested in making sure its Atom processors are supported by the latest versions of Android. AMD may not be willing to engage on that front, but it appears keen on on extending Hondo’s reach beyond consumer products and into low-power servers. There, Linux support is rather important.

Update: Intel PR rep Kathy Gill let us know that multiple flavors of Clover Trail are in the works. While "the current version" is meant for Windows 8 tablets, "another version of this platform directed at Linux/Android" is in the cards. That’s all Intel is willing to say at the moment.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I have one advice for AMD : Any port in a storm.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    Just as Intel plans multiple versions of Clover Trail, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this version of Hondo is intended for SeaMicro-based massive server farms.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] Intel PR rep Kathy Gill let us know that multiple flavors of Clover Trail are in the works. While "the current version" is meant for Windows 8 tablets, "another version of this platform directed at Linux/Android" is in the cards. That's all Intel is willing to say at the moment.[/quote<] Now what am I supposed to do with my Intel-is-out-to-kill-Linux-users fanboy rage?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Pour some gasoline on it and light a match.

      Kill it with fire

        • ronch
        • 7 years ago

        NeelyCam is an arsonist. Had no idea.

    • Goty
    • 7 years ago

    The situations for both AMD and Intel both simply come down to driver/firmware support. Intel simply doesn’t want to spend the time writing updated firmware for Clover Trail under Linux so that it will support all of it’s power-saving goodness (not that it matters since the community will probably take care of this on their own down the road) and AMD simply doesn’t have the resources to devote to writing drivers specifically for the handful of Android-specific devices that Hondo would find its way into.

    • Helmore
    • 7 years ago

    What’s odd is that if I search “Intel Clover Trail on android” on Google (without the quotation marks), I get news articles that either state that Clover Trail will or will not support Android. Could someone clarify to me if Clover Trail does or does not support Android?

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 7 years ago

      Clover Trail will certainly have the possibility of supporting a potential version of Android at some point.

    • WillBach
    • 7 years ago

    I’ll be honest, I still don’t know what to make of the Clover Trail Linux bit. If it wasn’t for that, I would totally just believe that AMD was a few years behind on it’s Linux driver for Hondo and that’s what was holding up Android support. It’s all strange, and I don’t understand it. Microsoft’s agreement with the Dept. of Justice did expire, and they do have about 0% tablet share, so in theory they could order custom parts, but I don’t think that’s what this is.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    The Wintel Duopoly is in a mess. Too many long time players waited too long to jump on the Post-PC bandwagon. Now battle lines are being drawn among software and hardware makers to snatch up whatever piece of mobile gadget world they can.

    The whole market is going through a transition. Interesting times to be a tech enthusiast indeed.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      in a mess? I have no particular care for Intel, but have you seen their profits? MS has been increasing profits for years. Are they apple high? No, but to claim its a mess is hyperbole.

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        [url=http://marketday.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/19/12837611-microsoft-reports-first-quarterly-loss-ever?lite<]Increasing profits What?[/url<]

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          I know you’re aware of that situation, and you know it has nothing to do with current profitability.

        • Washer
        • 7 years ago

        A person can have truck loads of money and still be a mess, so too can a company.

        Now… jdaven is still either a troll or crazy.

    • Hattig
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]For the mobile systems Clover Trail targets, Linux support is largely inconsequential. Intel seems to be more interested in making sure its Atom processors are supported by the latest versions of Android.[/quote<] Android, of course, runs on top of the Linux kernel, and thus support for the power saving hooks would be needed for Android support.

      • faramir
      • 7 years ago

      Precisely.

      Please don’t post such silly articles in the future, ya ?

        • Delphis
        • 7 years ago

        Not sure why you got downvoted. It seems some PR people (maybe some TR people?) don’t really know what the heck is going on and then it gets parroted along.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      The most insightful commentary I’ve read is that because Clover Trail uses PowerVR graphics and Imagination Tech isn’t too keen on Linux support and open source drivers, that creates a roadblock for Linux on Clover Trail. I’m not sure how that jives with past Atoms which use PowerVR graphics but it makes some sense.

      Then there’s the power state thing. To be honest I am surprised Intel would refuse to write anything for that.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        So, how does this make CT any different from the many previous generations of PVR graphics toting ATOM chips that happily ran Linux for tasks that don’t need graphics.

        On the bitchy side, I’d say that not supporting the graphics in ATOM chips hasn’t been much of a loss because they suck so badly at it.

        The power management is a TBD, right? No chips yet, and no support yet. That doesn’t say it won’t happen in the future. Plus, as OP said, if they support Android on it (which is based on a linux kernel and the GPL says shipped binaries must provide code) there will be code to make Linux support the new power management.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          re: PowerVR graphics, that’s why I wrote I’m not sure how it jives with past Atom chips that use PowerVR. Maybe they used different PowerVR graphics and need different drivers?

          And yeah, I too would be surprised if Intel doesn’t do something about the power states in the future. Maybe they were just talking about the immediate future and it all got blown out of proportion.

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Blown out of proportion? Impossibru!

            I’m looking forward to what VV is going to be like under Linux. Code’s been dropping for that little guy in the Intel X11 driver weekly for a few months.

      • dale77
      • 7 years ago

      However, regardless of the reality that Android “runs on the linux kernel”, Intel is putting it out that their chip won’t support linux. An interesting message.

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