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Accelerated Android Ice Cream Sandwich Served On A Linaro Platter

Open source ARM architecture organization Linaro has served up two new builds of Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0.1, supporting accelerated graphics on two low-cost development boards: the Samsung Origen and ST-Ericsson Snowball boards.

Operating as a not-for-profit engineering organization focused on coalescing software development efforts on ARM architecture, Linaro specifies that the accelerated graphics support makes use of the ARM Mali-400 graphics processor. This graphics processor is integrated with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor: on Samsung's Origen board in Samsung's Exynos 4210 SoC, and on the ST-Ericsson Snowball board in ST-Ericsson's Nova A9500 SoC.

According to Linaro, "Developers are able to create optimized Linux-based devices with the support of Linaro. For example, Linaro uses the latest GCC 4.6 toolchain to build Android, enabling Linaro's Android to outperform standard Android builds in benchmarks and real-world tasks. The 4.6 toolchain allows developers to optimize for the latest SoCs like ST-Ericsson's Nova A9500 processor and Samsung's Exynos4210, which leads to an improved user experience."

The toolchain is question here provides early access to the performance improvements Linaro has been developing for the next release of GCC. The organization also is also clearly happy with the many "correctness fixes" identified and provided through working with the community of developers that have engaged on projects supporting these technologies to date. As one example of an improvement, the Linaro 4.6 toolchain includes features that allow software to manually or automatically parallelize compute tasks across the multiple cores in the chips.

Linaro states that it operates openly and that these accelerated builds are the latest downloads enabling advanced product development on hardware from its member companies.

"Linaro's goal is to provide consolidated and optimized open source software building blocks that provide companies with a foundation on which they can rapidly build and deliver innovative, differentiated solutions. Linaro Connect is held every three to four months to bring the Linux on ARM community together to work on the latest system-on-chip (SoC) developments, plan new engineering efforts, and hold engineering hacking sessions. These events give the Linux community an opportunity to be a part of the Linaro team and help to define the ARM tools, Linux kernels, and builds of key Linux distributions including Android and Ubuntu on member SoCs," said the organization.

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