maxidvd
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:56 pm

I think that the second (after ubuntu) best OS to put on our R-pi is android (honeycomb or the future ice-cream sanwich) or even the google tv os if the code is public.
This would make it the best and cheapest media player and internet@TV device...
Is possible to run android os un the R-pi?
(Sorry for bad english)
EDIT: maybe it has to be moved here http://www.raspberrypi.org/?pa.....#038;f=4.0

gerits
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:05 pm

Google TV is an android version optimized for TV's. So running any one of those will be possible as soon as someone had made a version of it with the right drivers and firmware.

From what I've heard Google TV isn't very stable, so I hope they bring out a new version soon.

maxidvd
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:58 pm

just out of curiosity, where do you start doing android drivers and firmware?
I always wodered how do they make android working on different devices...

ShiftPlusOne
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:50 pm

Quote from maxidvd on August 13, 2011, 21:58
I always wodered how do they make android working on different devices...
There are two tricks to it..
1) Android uses a linux kernel. Linux already supports embedded devices and has an insane amount of drivers.
2)Android uses a specialised java-like virtual machine. Java is designed to be cross-platform and is supported by linux... dalvik is pretty much the same thing. So the actual software doesn't need to be compiled for every single individual device.

If you want all the information check out CyanogenMOD and xda-developers.

Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:43 pm

Quote from maxidvd on August 13, 2011, 18:56
I think that the second (after ubuntu) best OS to put on our R-pi is android (honeycomb or the future ice-cream sanwich) or even the google tv os if the code is public.
This would make it the best and cheapest media player and internet@TV device...
Is possible to run android os un the R-pi?

1) Android is a slightly forked version of Linux coupled with a Dalvik based application framework.

2) You won't find Honeycomb. Ice Cream Sandwich is still locked down to specific Google partners right at the moment and doesn't look to be available to AOSS any earlier than late November, early December at this point.

3) Google TV is a set of mainly Apps set on TOP of Android- which are all closed as all get out.

4) In truth, MythTV or XBMC would work just as well and they DO have source to it.

5) With only 256Mb of RAM, it's going to be tight-ish for Gingerbread (It sure is for my original Droid... :D). Froyo's the only thing that really is at home in this low a memory profile for Android. That means something like CM5/6 to put it in a community provided perspective.

The only gain you're going to get from putting Android on this would be hacking in the Android Market app in via the XDA-Devs gapps package and pulling applications out of it. I suppose someone might want this, but the GC stalls because of just how little memory you actually have at your disposal will make it off and on painful. If you're looking for a media center type system you're probably going to be better served with using this as a MythTV or XBMC frontend device.

Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:45 pm

Quote from maxidvd on August 13, 2011, 21:58
just out of curiosity, where do you start doing android drivers and firmware?
I always wodered how do they make android working on different devices...

Android's a mildly forked version of Linux. Heh...something to do with the process in question is my current day-job and I have been doing Linux drivers for a long while now.

poisins
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:57 am

Google TV sounds good, but:
1. Don't Raspi wouldn't need HDMI-out and HDMI-in, so we can connect SAT/DVB decoder to watch TV or connect XBOX360, PlayStation 3, Blu-Ray players....

2. What about WiFi? Does it (GoogleTV OS) support USB WiFi?

3. If we have cable TV, don't we need slot for coaxial cable? If we don't have coaxial, we need HDMI-in to connect decoder box for cable tv

4. Doesn't HDMI-in need's more processor power?
-----------
If next Raspi would have on-board WiFi, HDMI in and out (or at least composite in/out), coaxial tv input and GoogleTV support, it would be best gadget for TV. Explore internet, watch TV and play your XBOX360/PS3 and control all form your phone (so it would control TV over LAN or BT, if gadget have it). I wouldn't care about it's size (if it would be bigger than credit card) becouse of its features.

jamesh
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:09 am

Quote from poisins on August 22, 2011, 10:57
Google TV sounds good, but:
1. Don't Raspi wouldn't need HDMI-out and HDMI-in, so we can connect SAT/DVB decoder to watch TV or connect XBOX360, PlayStation 3, Blu-Ray players....

2. What about WiFi? Does it (GoogleTV OS) support USB WiFi?

3. If we have cable TV, don't we need slot for coaxial cable? If we don't have coaxial, we need HDMI-in to connect decoder box for cable tv

4. Doesn't HDMI-in need's more processor power?
-----------
If next Raspi would have on-board WiFi, HDMI in and out (or at least composite in/out), coaxial tv input and GoogleTV support, it would be best gadget for TV. Explore internet, watch TV and play your XBOX360/PS3 and control all form your phone (so it would control TV over LAN or BT, if gadget have it). I wouldn't care about it's size (if it would be bigger than credit card) becouse of its features.

HDMI in is not possible for Raspi at the moment - it would need an extra decoder chip I think. There are also legal issues with DRM - if you take HDMI in and out, then you must preserve DRM (part of the HDMI spec I believe). That would be quite difficult in such an open source device!!! Building a device that can remove the DRM from HDMI streams would not be acceptable use, and may fall foul of the DCMA. However, IANAL.

Wireless should be possible now using a USB stick.

After adding all the HW required to make it work like a set top box, it would probably be cheaper to just buy a set top box!
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kisg
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:44 am

In order to have Android running on R-Pi, the biggest issue is to get the GPU drivers compiled for Android. Since Android uses a different userland, you can't just reuse the binaries released for regular Linux systems. Also, in some cases the HDMI audio output driver is entangled with the proprietary GPU drivers, so you might not have audio without the GPU driver either.

So in order to have Android running on R-Pi, either R-Pi.org or Broadcom will have to release the closed source components (GPU and possibly audio drivers + OpenMAX codecs) compiled for Android (practically as a basic Android release). I am pretty sure that these drivers are available for the SoC for Broadcom customers.

The main question is, whether R-Pi or Broadcom is interested in running Android on these devices, and will they be willing to release these binaries to the public (with sufficiently quick updates as newer Android releases are made public).

Best Regards,
Gergely Kis

jamesh
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:12 pm

Quote from kisg on September 2, 2011, 12:44
In order to have Android running on R-Pi, the biggest issue is to get the GPU drivers compiled for Android. Since Android uses a different userland, you can't just reuse the binaries released for regular Linux systems. Also, in some cases the HDMI audio output driver is entangled with the proprietary GPU drivers, so you might not have audio without the GPU driver either.

So in order to have Android running on R-Pi, either R-Pi.org or Broadcom will have to release the closed source components (GPU and possibly audio drivers + OpenMAX codecs) compiled for Android (practically as a basic Android release). I am pretty sure that these drivers are available for the SoC for Broadcom customers.

The main question is, whether R-Pi or Broadcom is interested in running Android on these devices, and will they be willing to release these binaries to the public (with sufficiently quick updates as newer Android releases are made public).

Best Regards,
Gergely Kis


There is also the Armv6 instruction set on the Raspi, and the lack of memory which means only older versions of Android would be usable.

Only one driver would need to change to run on Android (and just a recompile I think) - the rest of the work is handled by Linux libraries which *I think* should work fine. The GPU blob is the same on Linux or Android - it's unrelated to the OS on the Arm.
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Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:41 pm

Quote from jamesh on September 2, 2011, 13:12
There is also the Armv6 instruction set on the Raspi, and the lack of memory which means only older versions of Android would be usable.


1.5, most likely. 2.0+ might be a problem.


Only one driver would need to change to run on Android (and just a recompile I think) - the rest of the work is handled by Linux libraries which *I think* should work fine. The GPU blob is the same on Linux or Android - it's unrelated to the OS on the Arm.

You'd have to recompile everything to work with bionic. There's no glibc in the mix unless you're dragging your own with it, which is viewed as a no-no by Google.

Lakes
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:21 pm

I`m sure if Google were to have a word with Broadcom... ;)

kisg
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:27 pm

Quote from Svartalf on September 2, 2011, 16:41
Quote from jamesh on September 2, 2011, 13:12
There is also the Armv6 instruction set on the Raspi, and the lack of memory which means only older versions of Android would be usable.


1.5, most likely. 2.0+ might be a problem.



Obviously Android would be targeted only for the model B versions with the 256MB RAM. That said, we have boards running Froyo and Gingerbread fine with 128-192MB RAM. And no, by running I don't mean booting to the home screen...:) We are running some pretty big applications on it.



Only one driver would need to change to run on Android (and just a recompile I think) - the rest of the work is handled by Linux libraries which *I think* should work fine. The GPU blob is the same on Linux or Android - it's unrelated to the OS on the Arm.

You'd have to recompile everything to work with bionic. There's no glibc in the mix unless you're dragging your own with it, which is viewed as a no-no by Google.
I guess Jamesh meant that the other stuff (like audio) is handled by e.g. ALSA which is standard Linux, and supported by Android as well.

The problematic driver is the GPU userspace driver (not the GPU blob which is the firmware for the GPU), which will have to be ported to Android. In order to be useful, the OpenMAX codecs would have to be recompiled as well for use with Stagefright. I am pretty sure Broadcom did all this for their SoC, so it is really just a matter of intent on R-Pi.org's and Broadcom's side whether they want to release this or not.

What is also not yet clear to me whether this GPU will use the same system memory as the ARM core, so it could reserve say 64MB from the 256MB for itself to hold the firmware and runtime data, or will it have a dedicated memory above the 256MB.

Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:17 pm

<*SIGH*>

Guys, guys... A bit of reality in the mix here, please?

GoogleTV isn't likely. It's not FOSS. The ARM in this SoC doesn't support the Android API version. It doesn't magically bring anything of what you're thinking it does to the table.

I wasn't talking to what you think jamesh was talking to, by the way. All of your libraries you depend on for function, including what gives you access to the DSP and GPU (which would be REQUIRED for a media player...) would have to be provided with source and re-built as ANDROID NDK libs before you could hope to have something resembling what you're talking to.

It's not worth this much effort. Even for giggles- unless you're one of the worst kinds of technomasochists. You're better off with something like MythTV. The ONLY thing you gain from Android here is the apps- which aren't going to be practical for this application.

jamesh
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:49 pm

I'm not sure it would be worth the time to port to Android, I would think Linux would be fine for 99.99% of uses.

All the OpenMAX codecs are on the GPU, its the interface layer that would need a rebuild. We (Broadcom) do have Android builds, not sure if we have them for this chip though. I'll try and find out Monday - might be confidential information though.
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kisg
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:38 pm

Quote from Svartalf on September 2, 2011, 22:17
<*SIGH*>

Guys, guys... A bit of reality in the mix here, please?

GoogleTV isn't likely. It's not FOSS. The ARM in this SoC doesn't support the Android API version. It doesn't magically bring anything of what you're thinking it does to the table.

I wasn't talking to what you think jamesh was talking to, by the way. All of your libraries you depend on for function, including what gives you access to the DSP and GPU (which would be REQUIRED for a media player...) would have to be provided with source and re-built as ANDROID NDK libs before you could hope to have something resembling what you're talking to.

If you read back what I wrote, these libraries (+ basically a ported version of Android) would have to be provided by R-Pi.org or Broadcom or someone who has signed an NDA with Broadcom and has also the right to distribute those binaries.
These components most probably won't be released in source to the public ever. Not for Android, not for any other OS.

BTW: You won't be able to compile such components with only the NDK, you will need the full source for that, e.g. the SurfaceFlinger headers...etc.

In short: without vendor support (R-Pi.org and/or Broadcom) Android just won't happen on this platform.

We can argue about whether the HW specs will be enough to run Android at sufficient speed. CPU power will be probably similar to the generation 1 Beagleboards, with a faster GPU. Memory will be tight (we are only talking about the 256MB version), but I have first hand experience in real projects that it can work fine with some natural compromises.

GoogleTV is of course a completely different matter, it probably won't happen.

You can't get any more real than that.

Best Regards,
Gergely

sjamaan
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:56 pm

If I am not mistaken the SOC uses an ARM Cortex which is what android runs on mostly. The memory is the problem with only 256MB...but you can use virtual memory on an ext3/4 partition off of a class 10 sdcard or fast usb stick...that is how the HTC desire Gingerburst family stock roms offer lots of extra memory for the phone even though it is limited to 576MB...I wonder if HDMI cables can also carry other serial data like touch screen data....I think android would be worth porting for use as a HTPC, especially Honeycomb...with blue tooth dongles you could use your phone as a remote control...etc.hulu, netflix...

I have a Logitech Revue, not many apps work on it...but I think it may have to do with the Java platform and that the logitech run on an Atom based CPU...but the Raspberry Pi is already on and ARM so I think that the app support would be much more robust for the Pi right from the get go...

The Cageybee
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:51 am

Quote from Svartalf on September 2, 2011, 16:41
Quote from jamesh on September 2, 2011, 13:12
There is also the Armv6 instruction set on the Raspi, and the lack of memory which means only older versions of Android would be usable.


1.5, most likely. 2.0+ might be a problem.


I just like to point out that my ZTE Racer is a 600mHz Armv6 with 256mb RAM.

Currently running a Gingerbread 2.3.4 CM7 ROM with no problems.

Personally though, I can't see why you'd really want Android on Raspberry. As much as it is a great phone OS it would severely limit the possibilities of what you could do with a device of this type. It might make a nice proof of concept, but I can't see it getting much further.

I agree with the earlier poster who stated, for a media player box, xbmc would be a much better idea. I know there were some efforts to get it running on the BeagleBoard a while ago which showed some promise, but unfortunately development seems to have stalled.

tufty
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:17 am

Quote from The Cageybee on September 17, 2011, 01:51Personally though, I can't see why you'd really want Android on Raspberry. As much as it is a great phone OS it would severely limit the possibilities of what you could do with a device of this type. It might make a nice proof of concept, but I can't see it getting much further.
This.

Android is an OK smartphone OS, but (at least in my experience
) a bloody awful one for tablets or more general "computers". The limits it places on what you can do with the hardware are crippling for any sort of serious development and developer documentation is pitiful (remember, RasPI is supposed to be aimed at the education market). If you want to do anything that performs (games, for example) you have to go to native code in order to escape the random pauses for GC under Dalvik. If you go for native code, you might as well be developing for Linux anyway, except you've got less than half the libraries that are generally available and no documentation.

The time spent porting android would be much better spent getting a start on researching and then creating a decent UI for educational uses under Linux. That's damned hard work, though.

jamesh
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:04 am

Quote from tufty on September 17, 2011, 09:17
Quote from The Cageybee on September 17, 2011, 01:51Personally though, I can't see why you'd really want Android on Raspberry. As much as it is a great phone OS it would severely limit the possibilities of what you could do with a device of this type. It might make a nice proof of concept, but I can't see it getting much further.
This.

Android is an OK smartphone OS, but (at least in my experience
) a bloody awful one for tablets or more general "computers". The limits it places on what you can do with the hardware are crippling for any sort of serious development and developer documentation is pitiful (remember, RasPI is supposed to be aimed at the education market). If you want to do anything that performs (games, for example) you have to go to native code in order to escape the random pauses for GC under Dalvik. If you go for native code, you might as well be developing for Linux anyway, except you've got less than half the libraries that are generally available and no documentation.

The time spent porting android would be much better spent getting a start on researching and then creating a decent UI for educational uses under Linux. That's damned hard work, though.

Agreed. I (personally) don't see any need for anything other than LXDE or similar on the Raspi. Android just adds too much overhead, and doesn't give as good a UX on this sort of device.

As a project for someone to try - go for it!
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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Catscrash
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:42 pm

android would be great, doesn't need to be honeycomb, just the possibility of running the huge amount of existing android-apps would be perfect for the idea of using the RPI as carpc :-)

(There are e.g. great navigational apps for android like copilot, but none for linux, and on a 6" or 7" touchscreen a 2.3 android would work just fine)

Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:56 pm

Heh... While the number of applications is "great", the performance of things and which API version you'd be stuck at, it'd be opposite thinking, really. It's what I was getting at earlier in this discussion.

toxibunny
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:00 pm

my phone's an ARM11 600mhz with 512meg. RasPi'd be fine...
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

obarthelemy
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:09 pm

Except the raspi is 256 megs. Since the OS takes a fixed amount a RAM, that means very little is left for apps, and we can't install the latest revisions of the OS. I had plenty of apps crashes on my older Android phone, with an older version of Android and only 256 megs. Everything are much better on my 512 phone with 2.2 now.

Svartalf
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Re: Google TV or Android OS

Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:48 pm

As an observation, while Gingerbread "runs" on my A855 Droid, it is a bit of a challenge to keep it running stable with CM7- which has much less to do with Cyanogenmod and more to do with the memory profile of the device with it on there. At best, I've got 80-ish MiB of RAM left and it's almost always running down around 30 and oftentimes less. The longer I run down around the 20-30 free range, the more likely the phone becomes unresponsive. This is an overclocked Cortex-A8, which would be roughly 4 or so times faster than the R-Pi at clock.

What happens is that it goes off into the weeds trying to do GC when it runs low on RAM and tries to bring something up in the background. When it does this you either have to be really patient while you bring up ATK to kill off some junk running in the background, power off, or just pull the battery out.

I won't tell you guys not to try it. I'm just dubious of the usefulness of this endeavor because the performance won't be even remotely there and it largely won't accomplish what people keep claiming it will. :D

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