Intel and Google have announced that they are working towards optimising future versions of Android for Intel’s Atom processors.

The move means that Android will natively support Intel technology, opening the door for Intel to fuel smartphones of the future.

"By optimising the Android platform for Intel architecture, we bring a powerful new capability to market that will accelerate more industry adoption and choice, and bring exciting new products to market that harness the combined potential of Intel technology and the Android platform," said Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini, who was joined on stage by Andy Rubin, senior VP of Mobile at Google. 

That means, that in the future, manufacturers will have a wider range of hardware options to choose from when speccing their devices. The pair showed off a Medfield-powered device (third generation Intel Atom) running Android 2.3 during the announcement.

Details are relatively thin on the ground at the moment in terms of who will be using Intel hardware, but it is expected that the first Intel Android devices will be available in early 2012. This suggests a flagship device launch on Intel hardware at Mobile World Congress 2012 in February.

The news is less likely to be welcomed by the likes of Qualcomm who has supplied the hardware for a great number of Android smartphones to date and will face new competition moving forwards. It may, however, be happy that it gets to supply a new wave of Windows 8 devices.

The news from Intel and Google landed at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, as other platform-shifting news came out of the Build conference in Anaheim, where Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be supporting ARM architecture hardware.