The Android mobile device platform from Google and the Open Handset Alliance have ignited the imagination of device OEMs, developers, and end users. Built on the core technologies of the Dalvik JVM and the Linux kernel, Android engages an active open-source developer community and leverages two ubiquitous underlying platforms - Java and Linux. Since its introduction, the Android mobile device platform has enjoyed a rapidly growing market presence and bullish prospects for new deployments.

Underlying standard software components and an active developer community have not necessarily made it easier for device OEMs to bring Android devices to market. Silicon vendors and smartphone manufacturers must still cope with basic board support issues, from accommodating ARM-based chipsets to building device drivers, as well as refactoring and tuning legacy embedded and desktop code to run well on the platform.


In OK:Android, General Dynamics Broadband supplies an OS support package for Android, enabled for use as a guest OS of the OKL4 mobile virtualization platform. OK:Android simplifies and streamlines the process of creating new Android phones.

OK:Android provides a standard Android environment, where existing Android applications can run without modification, and new applications can be developed using standard Android development tools.

Using OK:Android to create a virtual machine (VM) with an Android guest OS adds to the benefits associated with the use of Android in the following ways:

  • Android applications can run on the same processor side-by-side with legacy applications and legacy OSes. This co-location eliminates the need for either multiprocessor hardware or porting the legacy system to Android.
  • Through Secure HyperCell™ Technology, OKL4 cells complement the Android VM by providing an execution environment with better real-time properties and stronger security.
  • OKL4 cells are well-suited to hosting real-time OSes, easing implementation of latency-sensitive functions without sacrificing the rich ecosystem support available for Android.

Challenges to deploying Android

Android is large - Android is tens of millions of lines of source code. OKL4 cells make it easier to meet the security and certification requirements of key applications or subsystems by offering applications a much smaller trusted computing base than is possible for an Android environment.

Android is open -The complexity and openness of the Android mobile device platform can increase the risk of security exploits and reliability problems. Using the OKL4 Microvisor, Android and its applications can run in isolation from other software subsystems, making it easier to offer higher levels of security and reliability to those subsystems without having to provide a dedicated hardware execution environment.

High stakes — device drivers

Device drivers represent a wildcard in mobile designs - difficult to develop, they can be harder to maintain and migrate forward. Drivers can also present openings for security exploits. The OKL4 Microvisor makes drivers a safer bet by:

  • Offering an innovative device-driver approach with high-performance, sharable, isolated, user-level device drivers for improved reliability and security
  • Running device drivers at user level and limiting privileged code to the OKL4 Microvisor
  • Supporting device drivers running in any guest OS

The OKL4 Microvisor creates systems that are easier to develop, easier to maintain, more secure, and more reliable. The OKL4 building block approach combines, connects, and manages VMs, native OKL4 subsystems, and device drivers. OK:Android adds ready-to-use Android VMs to the standard set of building blocks available to developers.

Watch the Webinar: Android Migration at the Speed of Light with Rob McCammon

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