Unity Adds Native x86 Support for Android

Unity Adds Native x86 Support for Android

Intel is facing an uphill battle in the mobile space from a marketshare perspective, but there's an additional challenge: the bulk of mobile apps are compiled targeting ARM based CPU cores, not x86. With the launch of Medfield on Android, Intel introduced a binary translation software layer to enable running existing ARM based Android apps on x86. Binary translation is a useful fix for enabling compatibility but it does come with a performance and power penalty. Enabling native x86 applications is ultimately the goal here, BT is just used as a transitional tool. 

As far as I can tell, none of the big game engines (Unity, Unreal Engine) were ported to x86 on Android. As a result, any game that leveraged these engines would be ARM code translated to run on x86. This morning Intel and Unity Technologies announced a native x86 version of the Unity game engine for Android. Selected developers have access to the x86 version today, and it'll be made available to everyone else by the end of the year. There's no charge for the update. Note that this only applies to the Android Unity port, the engine under Windows and all Windows tools are already obviously compiled for x86.

Intel's press release mentions support for both Core and Atom families. I clarified with Intel that the Core reference mainly applies to any Core M (Broadwell Y or Skylake Y) Android tablets, and not a push into Core based smartphones. 

Intel is also working on enabling other game engines, but we'll have to wait to see those announcements.