Android for Pi


36 posts   Page 1 of 2   1, 2
by ikaruga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:31 pm
Alot has happened since this project started. In particular, the advent of the Android OS.

It seems that Pi and Android would make a perfect fit:


  1. Android is for ARM devices. Pi runs an ARM chip.

  2. Android is designed for low-resource (mobile) devices. Pi has small resources.


Bonus: Through the Android market, Pi automagically gets support for DRM. I know that some people in the open-source community hate the idea of "DRM"---but in the U.S., to do things like playing movies legally, we normally have to use it.

How does a $25 netflix/pandora/slacker player sound?

Bonus 2: Angry Birds on Pi! (I actually hate that game but I just thought I would mention it.)
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by jamesh » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:16 pm
ikaruga said:


Alot has happened since this project started. In particular, the advent of the Android OS.

It seems that Pi and Android would make a perfect fit:


  1. Android is for ARM devices. Pi runs an ARM chip.

  2. Android is designed for low-resource (mobile) devices. Pi has small resources.


Bonus: Through the Android market, Pi automagically gets support for DRM. I know that some people in the open-source community hate the idea of "DRM"---but in the U.S., to do things like playing movies legally, we normally have to use it.

How does a $25 netflix/pandora/slacker player sound?

Bonus 2: Angry Birds on Pi! (I actually hate that game but I just thought I would mention it.)


The consensus in the forum is that Ice Cream Sandwich requires too much CPU and RAM to be able to run on the Raspi. Some of the older versions might work at an acceptable speed.

Angry Birds runs fine on the GPU though, on Symbian phones.
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by ikaruga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:35 pm
Who says it needs to be ICS? Android 2.2 and 2.3 (Gingerbread) are good enough. In fact, my phone is a 600 mhz ARM with 256 MB of RAM that runs 2.2. It runs it well enough.
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by jamesh » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:42 pm
ikaruga said:


Who says it needs to be ICS? Android 2.2 and 2.3 (Gingerbread) are good enough. In fact, my phone is a 600 mhz ARM with 256 MB of RAM that runs 2.2. It runs it well enough.


Which is why I said some of the older version may work OK (actually, some of the architecture of the older versions is a bit of a PITA if you want to use acceleration). If someone wants to port Android to the Raspi they are more than welcome. I personally think its a lot of effort to go to for relatively little reward, but I think its certainly possible if someone fancies it. Its very very unlikely the foundation would do it.
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by ikaruga » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:56 pm
Little value? Little reward?

You're basically turning the Pi into a $30 portable roku box.

Nevermind the usefulness as a cheap extra Android development device.

I can see the value for the Android community.
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by jamesh » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:17 pm
ikaruga said:


Little value? Little reward?

You're basically turning the Pi into a $30 portable roku box.

Nevermind the usefulness as a cheap extra Android development device.

I can see the value for the Android community.


So, what's the reward to the foundation for spending man years of work making it run Android, with regard to the purpose of the device - to teach programming? Android is a terrible programming platform!

If you want a Roku box, buy a Roku box. Same SoC, but specialised software dedicated to the task.

If the Android community can see the value, they can port it to the Raspi. They are more than welcome to do so, nobody here is going to stop them!
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by Nightpath » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:11 am
There's a plethora of dedicated Android hackers/programmers out there. I can guarantee that we'll see a version of ICS ported, without all the crap that a phone needs.

Just float over to XDA, see what those guys and girls do. Once they catch wind of the Pi they'll be hungering for a bite like mad.
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by Benedict White » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:22 am
ikaruga said:


Little value? Little reward?

You're basically turning the Pi into a $30 portable roku box.

Nevermind the usefulness as a cheap extra Android development device.

I can see the value for the Android community.


Scratches head? JamesH and I don't always agree... but we are on the same page on this one.

It's not a Roku, it's easier to hack, and has GPIO like a BBC B. It will have a few distros that support it.

Crucially, according to the wiki, Eclipse ought to work, which means you can program for Android on the Raspberry Pi, which I don't think you can do on an Android device.

At a fundamental level, Android is just another Linux, it's just tied down so noobs find it harder to break, and as James says, is no good for programming. I mean, how many IDE's or compilers are in the Android market place?
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by Canuck » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:11 am
Most of the people who buy it are not programmers nor want to learn how to program. The admins/moderators here have no clue.
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by Prometheus » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:28 am
Benedict White said:


ikaruga said:


Little value? Little reward?

You"re basically turning the Pi into a $30 portable roku box.

Nevermind the usefulness as a cheap extra Android development device.

I can see the value for the Android community.


Scratches head? JamesH and I don"t always agree… but we are on the same page on this one.

It"s not a Roku, it"s easier to hack, and has GPIO like a BBC B. It will have a few distros that support it.

Crucially, according to the wiki, Eclipse ought to work, which means you can program for Android on the Raspberry Pi, which I don"t think you can do on an Android device.

At a fundamental level, Android is just another Linux, it"s just tied down so noobs find it harder to break, and as James says, is no good for programming. I mean, how many IDE"s or compilers are in the Android market place?


Two that I could find with a quick glance – Terminal IDE and JavaIDEdroid. The rest of the results for "IDE" were for completely unrelated things. (Other results for "IDE" included Angry Birds, UStream, and Smurfs' Village.)

Whilst I would never dispute that it would be nice to have as an option, my experience with Android is that it"s meant for consuming, rather than for creating (I write a lot, myself, and it doesn"t even have a usable text editor – the only ones I"ve been able to find can only support a laughable one million characters, or tell you that they"re unsuitable for large files - I'll stick to writing on my Pandora, methinks), so I"m inclined to agree with JamesH here. :P
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by Nightpath » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:55 am
I'm in the Canadian Forces..reason why Android would be appealing is that it's a simple system to use. Not that Linux is real hard, but a touch screen + Android distro and I could use it while travelling to watch movies and so forth...just need a cheap laptop type battery to power it and I'd be golden.

Why pay shankloads for a tablet when I can have something neater? ;D
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by cnxsoft » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:41 am
Paul O'Brien (Modaco) tweeted about possibly porting Android to Raspberry Pi yesterday. So there's hope.

PS: I love the little math "captcha" I have to do before posting. You may want to tweak the forum software to include more complex equations :)
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by Vindicator » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:58 am
Canuck said:


...


I'm not sure how Android an thread leads to political agenda's but to bring it up is not concurrent to this thread.

Start a political thread if you need to vent but please don't contaminate someone Else's threads with off topic political statements. ( and we don't care about your views on the clergy either in this thread.)

Anyway I don't think that a android port would be a no value or little value project but it should be handled by people who want it.

The foundation is about Pi's for those who need them not us who just want them.
If you are more worried about ,spelling, punctuation or grammar you have probably already missed the point so please just move on.
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by scep » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:36 am
Vindicator said:


I"m not sure how Android an thread leads to political agenda"s but to bring it up is not concurrent to this thread.

Start a political thread if you need to vent but please don"t contaminate someone Else"s threads with off topic political statements.


I agree. Decontaminated.
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by jamesh » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:43 am
Canuck said:


Most of the people who buy it are not programmers nor want to learn how to program. The admins/moderators here have no clue.


Although more of a clue than you do, apparently, since no-one here knows what the proportion of users vs programmers will be *when* the board goes on sale. You have an opinion on that proportion, keep it to to yourself if you cannot present it in a polite fashion.
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by Benedict White » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:17 pm
Canuck said:


Most of the people who buy it are not programmers nor want to learn how to program. The admins/moderators here have no clue.


Curiously the device was conceived solely for programming. That is it's aim, and it's intended use. There will be people using it for all sorts of things, in particular for it's GPIO use as well.

If YOU want to use it for something else by all means do. Let us know how you get on with the port.
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by ikaruga » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:36 pm
I am really surprised this post has caused used such a strong backlash. It honestly leads me to wonder about the long-term stability of this project, specially when an admin seems to be so closed minded.

As an educator, I see a lot of value with Android on Pi. I see it as a low-priced test device. That means everyone in the classroom can have one and even take it home---just like they do with their graphing calculators.

Just to clarify---as someone pointed out, no one programs *on* Android. You do that on a suitable OS (i.e., that can run Eclipse and the Android SDK). Android and ios aren't designed for that.

However, as an Android developer, I can attest that creating apps *outside* of Android is relatively easy, certainly no harder than ios. It's just Java after all.

So what I envision is developing on a regular desktop computer---perhaps even on another Pi running a suitable OS. Then testing your creations on Android Pi.

For $25-$35, I don't see how schools can go wrong...specially when mobile is the future.
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by jamesh » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:26 pm
ikaruga said:


I am really surprised this post has caused used such a strong backlash. It honestly leads me to wonder about the long-term stability of this project, specially when an admin seems to be so closed minded.

As an educator, I see a lot of value with Android on Pi. I see it as a low-priced test device. That means everyone in the classroom can have one and even take it home---just like they do with their graphing calculators.

Just to clarify---as someone pointed out, no one programs *on* Android. You do that on a suitable OS (i.e., that can run Eclipse and the Android SDK). Android and ios aren't designed for that.

However, as an Android developer, I can attest that creating apps *outside* of Android is relatively easy, certainly no harder than ios. It's just Java after all.

So what I envision is developing on a regular desktop computer---perhaps even on another Pi running a suitable OS. Then testing your creations on Android Pi.

For $25-$35, I don't see how schools can go wrong...specially when mobile is the future.


OK, as a closed minded admin, who is quite aware of how to make Android apps on a desktop, let me explain in simple terms.

Ice Cream Sandwich won't run on the Raspi.

Earlier versions of Android may run on the Raspi. (700Mhz Arm, 256MB RAM remember)

The Foundation  does not plan to port any Android to the Raspi. It's many man months of work, man months that are not available, and Broadcom won't be doing it for the SoC in question.

If someone wants to port Android to the Raspi they are more than welcome, and if we can help we will.

Android is not suitable for writing programs on. Raw Linux is. The Raspi is designed to enable people who cannot afford a desktop to learn to program. If you already have a PC capable of running an Android App dev system, you don't need a Raspi for its primary purpose, so what is the point of Android on a Raspi?

Anything you can program on Android could also be programmed in Linux.

Writing Android apps means Java (or something close!) - no C, no C++, no Python, no Perl, no Basic, no Fortran, no Cobol etc plus...no hardware access (GPIO's etc).

What benefits to education does Android bring over Linux, given the above?

It is simply not with the Foundation's time to do an Android port themselves. It would take till this time next year, and I happen to know that some of the acceleration available on the GPU is an UTTER PITA to implement in Android some of the older versions - it's bad enough in the latest one.
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by davidgoodenough » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:25 pm
I find it surprising that it is stated that ICS will not run on the Raspberry Pi, given that it does run on both the Beagleboard Xm and Beaglebone.

The BeagleBone has 256MB memory, and the processor is about the same speed.

Applications on Android are generally written in their Java, but the lower level APIs still exist, and applications can be written in C/C++.

I am not saying it should be done, just that it is perfectly possible and to say otherwise is just plain wrong.
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by tufty » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:08 pm
ikaruga said:


I am really surprised this post has caused used such a strong backlash. It honestly leads me to wonder about the long-term stability of this project, specially when an admin seems to be so closed minded.


Really?

Firstly, the "can / will android run on the Pi" discussion has been had multiple times in the past.  The answers are the same every time, and easily found using the "search" feature of the forum.

Secondly, the goal of the foundation is to produce a low cost computer for teaching kids to program.  Not a low cost device running android, missing its few good points, and still requiring a relatively expensive "workstation" to develop software for it.

Android simply does not further the goals of the foundation – it's totally orthogonal to them.  It is an OS designed for passive consumption of media and targetted advertising delivery.   Pi is a device intended to pull kids into actually making computers work, not staring, slack-jawed and drooling, at them.

As for James being closed-minded, that's comedy genius, that is.
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by jamesh » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:28 pm
davidgoodenough said:


I find it surprising that it is stated that ICS will not run on the Raspberry Pi, given that it does run on both the Beagleboard Xm and Beaglebone.

The BeagleBone has 256MB memory, and the processor is about the same speed.

Applications on Android are generally written in their Java, but the lower level APIs still exist, and applications can be written in C/C++.

I am not saying it should be done, just that it is perfectly possible and to say otherwise is just plain wrong.


Yes, probably true, It will run, but very slowly. To get any sort of performance out of ICS on the Raspi (Armv6 700Mhz)  would mean you HAVE to have GPU acceleration for the UI. Most smartphones with it are running 1GHz Cortex A9 at least, plus GPU acceleration. You are still going to suffer badly from limited memory. This is one reason why Broadcom have never done it for this SoC.

Implementing the GPU acceleration is no trivial task, requiring some man months of effort.

I didn't know you could write Android *Apps* in C/C++ - thanks for that. You still need a desktop machine though - cannot be done on the device itself.
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by skykooler » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:38 pm
JamesH said:





Ice Cream Sandwich won't run on the Raspi.

Earlier versions of Android may run on the Raspi. (700Mhz Arm, 256MB RAM remember)

...

What benefits to education does Android bring over Linux, given the above?


I bet that it will. My Nokia N900 can run ICS, and I have had it running Gingerbread very smoothly for several months. Its specs? 256 MB RAM, 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8. So quite comparable to the Pi.

As for benefits: There are already Android apps written for this purpose, which gives extra stuff that doesn't need re-written.
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by jamesh » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:14 pm
skykooler said:


JamesH said:





Ice Cream Sandwich won't run on the Raspi.

Earlier versions of Android may run on the Raspi. (700Mhz Arm, 256MB RAM remember)

...

What benefits to education does Android bring over Linux, given the above?


I bet that it will. My Nokia N900 can run ICS, and I have had it running Gingerbread very smoothly for several months. Its specs? 256 MB RAM, 600 MHz ARM Cortex A8. So quite comparable to the Pi.

As for benefits: There are already Android apps written for this purpose, which gives extra stuff that doesn't need re-written.


Somebody spent a lot of time making that work (but not Nokia!) Gingerbread requires much less resource that ICS, but it may work, but I doubt at a usable speed.

As I have said before, if someone want to put Android on the Pi they are more than welcome. It won't be easy, and the benefits are pretty small for the effort involved.
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by Benedict White » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:23 pm
JamesH said:


Somebody spent a lot of time making that work (but not Nokia!) Gingerbread requires much less resource that ICS, but it may work, but I doubt at a usable speed.

As I have said before, if someone want to put Android on the Pi they are more than welcome. It won't be easy, and the benefits are pretty small for the effort involved.


Android is Linux based. True there is a lot of divergence at the moment, but that is being addressed and we expect a common kernel, though probably not in the lifetime of the current Raspberry Pi.

As to the benefits of a mobile handset tweaked version of Linux, with "issues" on the Pi squeezed onto a device that has to be tethered.... there seems to be no payoff and lots of pain as you say.

Still, as an exercise in beating an OS to your own devices, it's a challenging one, and if anyone actually wants to do it to get the experience, good luck, let us know how you get on.
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by Junsei » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:52 am
Why are you focusing so much on android? It"s a very limited OS in comparisson with Linux. It"s easyer to understand? The ui is simpler, yes. But it is far from better than Linux.

If you want something with a simpler ui, you have, for exemple, Ubuntu with the unity. I prefer this far more than android.

But i know that ubuntu its heavy for the hardware available, but it whould be nice to have a unity like ui, that would run smoothly with the rasp distros.

And here"s a crazy thought: how about webos, when it becomes opensource?
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