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Android Hardware

ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid writes One of the trickiest aspects to launching a new platform update is the chicken and egg problem. Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment. This is the crux of the issue with respect to the ARMv8 architecture and enabling development for 64-bit Android platforms. As such ARM is readying their Juno development platform that combines several of ARM's most advanced technologies on a single board. The product supports big.Little in an asymmetric configuration; each board ships with two Cortex-A57s, four Cortex-A53s, and a modest Mali T-624 core. All this hardware needs an OS to run on — which is why ARM is announcing a 64-bit port of Android as part of this new development board. By including AOSP support as well as additional hooks and features from Linaro, ARM wants Juno to be a sort-of one-stop shopping product for anyone who needs to test, prototype, or design a 64-bit product for the ARM ecosystem. The Android flavor that's coming over is based on Linaro Stable Kernel 3.10. At launch, Juno will support OpenGL-ES 3.0, on-chip thermal and power management, up to 8GB of RAM (12.8GB/s of bandwidth), an optional FPGA, and USB 2.0. OpenCL 1.1 will be added in a future product update. The project is positioned as a joint ARM / Linaro launch with ARM handling the hardware and Linaro taking responsibility for the software stack.
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ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

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  • http://arm.com/products/tools/development-boards/versatile-express/index.php

  • by imroy (755)
    Wait... is ARM making its own chip? I don't think they've done that since like the ARM1/2.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      ARM didn't make the ARM1/2 either, they were fabricated by VLSI (the company, not the acronym). ARM has always been fabless.

      • by imroy (755)

        By that measure, isn't AMD also fabless because TSMC makes their chips? (or at least their big processors)

        I guess what I mean by "making" is "designing and having someone fabricate for them". That is what would set it apart from all of the other ARM chips out there today.

  • If developers do not want to worry about the underlying hardware, all they need to do is stick to Google's developer guidelines and use Java. Let the JRE and native recompiler abstract all the hardware-dependent stuff. Not quite as compute/power-efficient (at least in theory) but from what I have seen, there seems to be tons of developers who waste tons of cycles regardless of portable vs native anyway.

  • "Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment."

    Is it not the manufacturer's interest to provide initial software / libraries? At least version 1.0?

  • What!!!?
    Sixteen posts already and nobody (apart from the sidebar) even mentioned the word Linux?
    (Which, kids, surprise, surprise -- is what Android basically is.)

    Yes, these days, many of my smart phone addict friends stifle with quite a surprising look when
    they hear Android is Linux.

    My fellow nerds -- you have an obligation, don't let Google or Samsung get away with this!
    • by dave420 (699308)
      Give it a rest. It's like claiming Einstein was just sandals. There is a bit more to it than just what it's running on, and it's that bit which makes it what it is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @08:32PM (#47373437)

    I'll buy one if ARM publishes the source code to the drivers in an open source license. These Android stacks with binary blobs are nightmares to work with.

    • ARM doesn't build chips, thus no drivers neither. That falls on the silicon vendors - TI, Broadcom, Samsung, etc. They are a pure-IP licensing company.

      BTW, their Mali GPUs have open source drivers.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      ARM only do the reference design for the CPU core. All the peripheral stuff that you need drivers for is designed by other companies. FWIW the core stuff that ARM do is all publicly documented and well supported on OS platforms like Linux/AOSP.

  • Instead of expecting developers to support some new architecture, Google, Intel and ARM need to knock heads and implement LLVM as an alternative. Then devs largely DON'T CARE what the backend is - they compile their native code to LLVM bitcode and let the system figure out how to convert it to native instructions. Conversion could even happen in the cloud so the user just downloads an apk which just happens to contain the native binary necessary for their specified device.

    The weird thing is Google already

    • by Xrikcus (207545)

      Google supports LLVM in the NDK. Renderscript is more like OpenCL where they restrict the input to make portability easier. Google also has the portable native client definition that aims to do something more general as you are suggesting, though that's for the desktop not android, admittedly. The thing is that LLVM is not actually portable between 32-bit and 64-bit anyway because C loses too much of that information at the early stages of compilation.

      If you look at the SPIR spec (https://www.khronos.org/sp

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