Android 4.0 Coming to Raspberry Pi

August 3, 2012

According to  a report at Ars Technica, it will soon be possible to run Google’s Android 4.0 mobile operating system on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s bare-bones, low cost (ca. $35) single-board Linux computer.  The foundation currently provides a customized version of Fedora Linux that runs on the device, and there is a port of the Debian distro, called Raspbian, that is under active development.   The Android port includes some interesting capabilities.

Android 4.0 could be a compelling option for some Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. According to the Raspberry Pi foundation, the Android port has support for hardware-accelerated graphics and video playback.

The foundation’s announcement page has several screen shots, and links to a video demonstration of Android running on the Pi.   At this point, the Android port is using a different Linux kernel than the existing Linux version; the foundation is trying to converge the two versions, in order to release a common source.

This implementation uses a different kernel and VideoCore binary image from the one available on GitHub, which is why we’ve been keeping quiet about it so far. We’re investigating the feasibility of converging the two code lines to produce a single common platform as soon as we can, at which point we hope to release the sources for you to play with.

I think this may turn out to be a fascinating project.  In addition to the original aim of providing cheap computers for educational purposes, it might just provide the starting point for some creative new forms of computing.

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