One of the things that is so great about Android and its open source nature is that the OS can be used to power cheap smartphones for people on a strict budget and countries where people generally aren’t able to afford the high-end and expensive handsets that many of us take for granted in the US and Europe. One of the more costly components inside a smartphone is the processor and so far, ARM platforms rule the Android world.
MIPS has announced that it has the first non-ARM platform to pass the Android Compatibility Test Suite. If you are not familiar with this test suite, it is a collection of roughly 24,000 tests according to MIPS. These tests must be passed as one of the conditions to enable a device to access the Android Market and to use the Android logo on the smartphone. The test suite also helps to ensure that the smartphones will work with the apps on the Android Market as well.
The MIPS32 platform was able to pass the tests in the CTS and it is shipping an Android Froyo smartphone with a SoC from Ingenic Semiconductor based on the MIPS32 architecture. The smartphone will retail for under $100 and is already shipping in volume to China, Europe, and India. The smartphone will be coming to North America soon as well. MIPS also notes that the device will support popular games like Angry Birds and others.