Is Hewlett-Packard trying to reinvent Android too?

Hewlett-Packard is redesigning the computer from the ground up. That includes an overhaul of operating system techology, which it believes has been "stagnant" for decades. Android is a major focus.

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The basic concept for HP's 'The Machine' -- a rethink of the computing paradigm. Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard revealed Wednesday that it is working on a rethink of Android as part of its efforts to overhaul the basic design of a computer.

"What do you think if we actually built a version of Android that was tuned and optimized for non-volatile memory systems?" -- asked HP Chief Technical Officer Martin Fink during the company's Discover conference in Las Vegas.

Non-volatile memory systems are built around high-speed storage like Flash memory and, in the future, potentially HP's memristor technology.

"We have a team that's doing that...We want to work with any other [operating system] partners so they can join the non-volatile memory revolution with us," he said.

Fink's larger point is that operating systems today are too tied up in shuffling data around. "The operating system today spends a vast amount of time moving data between storage and memory," he said. "So, we're probably due for a rethink."

HP also has a team that is taking Linux and "stripping out all of the bits that we don't need" to make it more suitable for running on the new computer architecture.

The company plans to go to universities around the world and hook up with them on operating system research, "which we think has been dormant or stagnant for decades," Fink said.

The company's operating system efforts are part of The Machine, a project within HP to completely redesign the computer: the processor, storage, and the connections between those two components.

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HP's CTO Martin Fink shows a module -- based on the 'The Machine' concept -- that integrates the specialized processors, storage, and interconnects. Hewlett-Packard

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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