[qi:gigaom_icon_google-android] Google’s Android platform may have started out in handsets, but it was only a matter of time before it ended up in a variety of other devices, from netbooks to set-top boxes. An executive at one of the companies that designs chips for embedded devices said his company is prepping the OS for the home, and we’ll first see Android in digital picture frames, according to a story today in the NY Times. Art Swift, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies, lauded Android for its simplicity and ease of use (although it will need to be tweaked to play back HD video).
However, this isn’t all about Android. By embracing Android, which can help create a standard operating system for the consumer electronics industry, MIPS is trying to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive area. MIPS, which licenses its cores to many vendors for use in a variety of home electronics, has been losing market share to ARM, which makes semiconductor cores that have gained ground in the living room. Because ARM chips dominate mobile phones, Android is already adapted to that architecture. Meanwhile, Intel is also forcing its way into the digital home with its own x86-based chips for set-top boxes, media hubs, televisions and digital frames.
Android consumer electronics devices should be compatible with Android phones and the web itself. Developers who concentrate on Android could build apps that will port to hundreds of devices — from netbooks to game consoles. Now, if consumer electronics companies want to bring this functionality in, they can still choose MIPS cores.