At Intel's IDF 2014 conference in China, the chip-maker made the announcement that its 64-bit compliant Android 4.4 KitKat distribution is being released to developers and manufacturers. "The company ported, validated and tested the Android Open Source code on Intel Architecture, taking on the work that developers typically would need to do on their own," the company said according to CNET, and added that "this release will provide the ecosystem with 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices".
While this is in no doubt a significant contribution to Android's development, it feels slightly undermined by the fact that it's engineered to work only on Intel's own silicon, which is still a rarity in mobile devices. It really seems like an “ad-hoc” effort, but then again, Intel wouldn't have put in all the work to make Android 64-bit compliant if it didn't have a clear strategy. And, while we can only speculate what said strategy might be, Android's switch to 64-bit computing is imminent. ABI Research estimated that a large number of 64-bit mobile devices will start shipping in 2015, and other rumors point at an upcoming Nexus 8 tablet by Google, based on Intel's 64-bit silicon.