Tech giant Google today confirmed that it has snapped up FlexyCore, the DroidBooster company with software that can improve the way Android runs on mobile devices. The French business publication L’Expansion reported news of the buy on Tuesday, but this was no overnight move.
The acquisition process had already been under way for some time. The FlexyCore team, it turns out, was already integrated into the Android team. There was no official word on the value of the deal but reports estimate the deal was worth $23 million for this five-year-old company with software that boosts Android performance.
On the heels of the Tuesday news from France, Google offered confirmation in the form of a brief statement to GigaOM. The message stated that “The FlexyCore team has strong expertise in building software to optimize Android device performance, and we think they’d be a great fit with our team.”
What is so special that justifies $23 million? In one word, optimization. In two words, in line with Google’s development history, like Butter.
10 Times Faster
The technology optimized Android for manufacturers and carriers; for consumers, the company’s expertise was most well known because of its app, DroidBooster, created to improve the speed of apps running on Android but at the same time easing the ravages of battery drain. One of its slogans was, “Low end . . . at the speed of high end,” calling its product the “Android Accelerator,” rendering performance of a device’s Android system 10 times faster.
Asking why the acquisition, considering DroidBooster, seems like a silly question. Nonetheless, in the absence of any details from Google other than its two-line confirmation to GigaOM, it is worth considering just what Google has in mind.
The Android-watching community on Tuesday seemed to sing it out in unison: Google wants to make very sure that the same Android experience is pushed out for an Android user no matter what device the operating system is running on, and no matter how expensive -- or inexpensive -- the device. Going back to the DroidBooster mantra, it is most likely a matter of low end meeting the high end in performance standards so that Android stays healthy and grows.
With the upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat release, FlexyCore’s contributions may be in evidence on low-end phones with performance that will satisfy customers.
Spreading the Butter
Google has been aggressive about staying under the hood, so to speak, tinkering with Android to get it right. In 2012, Google announced Project Butter in Android 4.1, attempting to make it as smooth as possible and in particular to avoid any problems with device lag.
Project Butter's goal as an initiative for the Android mobile operating system was to make the OS quicker, a big step forward for Android 4.1. Much attention was paid to making the user interface fast and smooth, with improvements to the frame rate and making everything run in lockstep -- application rendering, touchscreen processing, screen composition and display refresh.
As for FlexyCore, its CEO, Gilbert Cabillic, was formerly a CTO at Texas Instruments, where he managed an R&D team focused on Java technologies and embedded operating systems. He has a PhD in computer science from the University of Rennes.