Intel has introduced a new initiative to help device makers create Android tablets based on its hardware. The simply named Intel Reference Design Platform for Android provides a single OS image that can be used with "pre-qualified" components and system configurations. Intel will take care of certifying the image, ensuring that compatible devices have access to the full suite of applications available via Google Mobile Services.
Although the program is designed to accelerate device development, long-term support is also part of the plan. Intel pledges to keep its reference image in step with the latest version of Android for a full two years after a device's launch. OS upgrades will be timely, too. Any updates to the official AOSP (Android Open Source Project) will trickle down to Intel's reference image within two weeks, the company guarantees.
Intel concedes that the program represents a big investment in software, but the company is certainly no stranger to opening its wallet to encourage the development Android devices based on its chips. This latest move should make it easier for hardware makers to not only roll out new devices, but also keep them updated over the long haul. Two years of OS upgrades is even better than what you get with Google's own Nexus devices, which are only guaranteed access to the latest Android builds for 18 months after launch.