We're Headed to IDF!
We apologize for the repeated delays. As we'll explain, it's good news all around though for Console, Inc. - and for our backers!
First, Android on Intel - An Update
We've held a lot of meetings with Intel over the past few weeks. We had the same concerns that many have had lately about the state of Android on Intel.
While we can't answer all questions today, we can say that Intel has assured us, and we can in turn assure the community, that Intel remains committed to Android. There certainly have been, and certainly will still be, some bumps in the road along the way.
To recap the news that is public, Intel will skip Android support for its upcoming "Broxton" line of Intel Atom processors. But, the Intel Atom "Cherry Trail" processor fully supports the same I/O (including USB-C with USB 3.1, and even DisplayPort mode), and will be built on a long-life basis over the next 24 months. We expect to keep making devices on Cherry Trail, until the successor to Broxton emerges.
Right now, we're sure the big question on your minds is about Nougat. Will Intel support Nougat on their chips? And in the FOSS community?
We can't answer specific questions on that today, other than to say some Intel Atom chips will be supported by Nougat. The Google Nexus Player, for example, which is powered by an Intel Atom "Moorefield" processor, will be upgraded to Nougat.
But, it is true, Intel is temporarily pulling back Android support. They've been up-front with the media, and with us, about that. That means a lot of Android devices may not see Nougat. We're trying to make sure that the devices that we're building, that depend on Nougat, will make the cut.
Intel has shared with us their timetable, and we in turn are working with multiple partners in the Intel ecosystem to make sure that Intel's support of Android strategically aligns with all the goals of both the IoT community, as well as companies like ours that are still committed to making great Android mobile devices with Intel processors.
To this end, we have started to take Console OS temporarily offline. We still hope to keep to our current plan of shipping a FOSS-friendly, stable Marshmallow release later this summer. We won't be able to decide about the future of Console OS beyond that, until after Nougat's source code is publicly available (and despite some broadly-held misconceptions, the source code for future Android releases is not fully posted, until after the final release is pushed out the door by Google).
And, consistent with our last update, we will offer backers multiple options as we pivot to focusing on hardware. If we decide to stop making Console OS, we'll offer you the chance to request a refund - or something better, your call.
Console Developer Rewards - It floats!
A famous David Letterman sketch was "Will it Float?" - where David Letterman out of the blue, would drop objects into water, and see if they sink, or swim.
When Intel pulled back on Intel support for Android, we weren't sure if it was the end. So, we held off on Console Developer Rewards. To recap, it's our initiative that funds FOSS developers in the community, to squash bugs and build out features on a bounty basis.
Our first full round was rolled out last month, along with a new open-source project called the OpenHU Project. A key developer, Mike Reid, tragically passed away, and we were working with him on his Android projects. One of them was very key to an upcoming device that we are well into developing. We were in contact with Mike up to the day he went to hospital, and tragically, he died suddenly.
As the story goes, right after he passed away, Google beamed down a GMS update that broke his hard work. So, we put up a $10,000 bounty to fix it. One developer, Emil Borconi, answered the call. And while Emil decided to decline the reward, we're planning on making a sizeable donation to Emil's continuation project, and we also plan to roll up / wind down the OpenHU project into that effort.
We didn't share any of this in an update previously, because we didn't feel it was worth sharing without some conclusions. In memory of Mike Reid, we've kept going, and the product that we showed him before he passed away, built atop his FOSS contributions, is something we're excited to be announcing in the near future.
This first cycle of Console Developer Rewards was a great learning experience. It showed that small amounts of money can galvanize communities, and bring attention to underserved FOSS projects. In other words, Console Developer Rewards definitely floats.
After our summer announcements, we hope to roll out a new round, and with Intel's commitments, assuming we can keep building Console OS, we expect to focus on Android-x86 in the next wave. Yep, that means rewarding Android-x86.org developers, with cash, for their hard work.
Onward to IDF
Originally, our plan was to unveil our next wave of announcements this week. But, at the last minute, Intel graciously decided to offer us a kiosk at the Intel Developer Forum, kicking off August 16th.
So, we're going to align our announcements closer to that date. But this is great news for us. Actually, it's the first time we've ever exhibited at an Intel Developer Forum. It's one small way that Intel is demonstrating a commitment to Android.
A lot of startups follow the "fail fast" methodology. As we enter year two of this Kickstarter, we certainly have defied that model.
It has been an interesting, challenging, painful, fun, and stressful two years.
So, kicking off this second year - we're going to echo our last update's promise, because it's an important one. We'll do what it takes to do right by all of you, even if it means refunding those that think we haven't done enough, despite the pullback in silicon support. We wouldn't be here without you.