Open Kernel Labs Introduces OK:Android

Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs), provider of virtualization software for mobile phones and broadband internet devices, today introduced OK:Android, an off-the-shelf paravirtualized version of the Android smartphone platform.

Using Secure HyperCell Technology, OK:Android enables Android to be used as a guest operating system running in a secure hypercell on top of the OKL4 microvisor, the OK Labs mobile phone virtualization platform. OK:Android gives handset manufacturers (OEMs) a short path to developing and delivering new designs with Android. The combination of OK:Android and OKL4 also extends new levels of security and robustness to the increasingly popular smartphone OS from Google and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA).

To date, Android-based handsets have been delivered by Taiwan-based HTC, with additional designs announced by Motorola, Samsung and other handset OEMs. Although Google and the OHA have been successful in engaging device suppliers and building a developer community, semiconductor suppliers, mobile OEMs and mobile network operators (MNOs) still face the significant challenges involved in porting and hosting Android on current chipsets and on new mobile hardware. By providing a flexible framework for Android integration with specific handset hardware and a straightforward way to reuse legacy software in new Android devices, OK:Android helps reduce time to market for a new wave of Android devices.

Since its introduction in 2008, Android has enjoyed a rapidly-growing market presence and bullish prospects for new deployments. One million Android-based handsets have shipped in 2008 as indicated by HTC; and research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics projects nine times that number in 2009. “Virtualization technology is being evaluated by many handset OEMs today, primarily for its significant time-to-market benefits for new phone designs,” noted Andreas Constantinou, lead analyst at VisionMobile. OK Labs virtualization technology already ships in over 300 million mobile handsets, including Android-based devices where OKL4 runs on the baseband processor. With OK:Android and the OKL4 microvisor, OK Labs can further accelerate Android adoption for new designs.

The impact of OK:Android starts by helping OEMs bring designs to market faster, and further extends its impact by incorporating a range of benefits across the emerging Android ecosystem. In particular, OK:Android enables OEMs, MNOs and ISVs to:

  • Offer new options for creating and prototyping Android-based devices and applications with embedded virtualization.
  • Create more secure and robust mobile devices, applications and services with Android and OKL4.
  • Run Android together with other mobile OSes and/or deploy multiple instances of Android on a single device.
  • Consolidate hardware (e.g., base band and application CPU cores) for more aggressive price-points for Android-based handsets.
  • Create new Android-based devices enabled for mobile-to-enterprise virtualization (M2E). M2E is a set of joint solutions developed by Citrix Systems, Inc. and OK Labs for delivering enterprise applications to mobile devices.

OK:Android and OKL4 are available immediately from OK Labs and its global channel partners.

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