Wind River and Android – 5 great years, with many more to come

By Dan Noal


It was 5 years ago this week that I got an email from our CEO who had just met with Andy Rubin and Rich Miner at the Googleplex. Google had invited us to talk privately and confidentially about what would become Android.  Other companies were already on board, and they asked us to join the small group of companies collaborating with them as part of the nascent Open Handset Alliance. They talked big about disrupting the entire mobile phone ecosystem and solving the fragmentation problem with so many competing Linux based phone stacks emerging at that time. They painted a vision where open source Android would dominate the mobile phone space and migrate to adjacent markets.  We knew that they had credibility from Danger, we knew that Google had tremendous momentum and power they could leverage.  We discussed it internally, and without much debate we replied “where do we sign?” and started to roll up our sleeves. 

Today, the smartphone market has gone through a radical change.  The Android operating system has taken the market by storm and exceeded even everyone’s expectations.  How could Google have been sure of the degree of success that Android would have in smartphones, let alone the swift spread of Android into a myriad of new device types?  How could they have known that the various ecosystems would line up to support the platform, and that it would become the juggernaut we now see?  It is also important to realize the iPhone was initially shipped about 3 months after our initial Google meeting. 

The ability to use Android as the runtime foundation for embedded devices of all kinds is more viable than ever.  But adapting anything new to the embedded device market is not a trivial effort.   Wind River is fully aware of the intricate challenges faced by device manufacturers across the board.  We recently hosted an executive luncheon at DESIGN West with industry leaders to discuss Android beyond mobile. Check out their presentations here.  Executives from a diverse array of companies attended to find out if Android can be a differentiator for their next generation product. As you’ll see from the presentations, many of the great features and capabilities introduced by Android can absolutely be leveraged for embedded devices.  In fact, we’re already helping customers use Android for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, IP media phones, and just about anything with a user interface. 

And, five years after our initial meeting with Google, Wind River continues to dedicate efforts to Android and its expansion into traditional embedded device categories including automotive infotainment, industrial, aerospace and defense and medical. Our portfolio of Android technologies, which includes commercial runtime platforms, market specific solution accelerators, testing frameworks, user experience tests, and design services and support can fast track any embedded Android project. 

Along with our partners and customers, we are pushing forward with a wide range of Android based products and projects in multiple industry segments.  Five years after that initial Google meeting, Android is still as exciting to us now, as it was then.  If you have any questions about adapting Android for an embedded device, feel free to get in touch.


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