Google’s Decision to Remove RISC-V Support from Android Kernel: What It Means for RISC-V Chip Vendors and the Global Industry.

China’s implementation of RISC-V chips encounters challenges amidst US scrutiny and Google’s decision to end Android support

In recent news, Google has made the decision to remove RISC-V support from the Android kernel, which is the central program of the operating system. This move is expected to have an impact on RISC-V chip vendors targeting Android systems and devices, according to William Li, an analyst at Counterpoint research.

While developers have the option to restore RISC-V support themselves, it will require more effort than it would have if Google had not removed it, pointed out Stewart Randall, head of electronics and embedded software at Intralink consultancy. However, the global impact of this decision is likely to be limited as most companies designing chips around RISC-V are not focusing on Android devices, as noted by Randall.

RISC-V is gaining traction in China with around 300 companies using the technology, including major tech players like Alibaba Cloud, Huawei Technologies, ZTE and Beijing Institute of Open Source Chip. RISC-V International has over half of its premier members based in China alongside companies like Google, Intel and Qualcomm. Chinese tech giants like Alibaba and Huawei are actively developing chips based on RISC-V with initiatives such as Alibaba’s XuanTie series of processors being used in various industries like 5G communications, robotics and financial services. Baidu backed StarFive Technology is also working on RISC-V based central processing units with plans to establish a semiconductor research and development lab in Hong Kong. Despite concerns in the US about China’s contribution to the RISC-V ecosystem remains strong as noted by Zhang Xiaorong from Cutting Edge Technology Research Institute. Companies already working on RISC-V support for Android are expected to continue their projects despite the additional work that lies ahead according to Counterpoint’s William Li.

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