10 months ago

Running Android on a Raspberry Pi 3

How to install Android with RTAndroid on a Raspberry Pi 3

Android apps running on a Raspberry Pi 

Google’s Android operating system seems like a great fit for the Raspberry Pi. Both run on ARM hardware, Android is based on Linux and Google is keen to push for the next generation of coders.

But you don’t need to wait for Google to develop the official version of Android. It’s already possible to install, and run, Android apps on your Raspberry Pi with RTAndroid.

ETA Prime has a video showing how to install RTAndroid on a Raspberry Pi 3. They demonstrate installing the operating system, and using the Google Play store to download Android apps, including games. They even demonstrate Angry Birds in action.

There are a few limitations. You can’t use a touch screen, not even the official Raspberry PI touch display. There are also some graphical hardware acceleration issues, although the demonstration of Angry Birds seems to run fine.

How to set up RT Android on a Raspberry Pi

According to the makers: “RTAndroid is developed by the Embedded Software Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University and provides a reliable execution environment for applications with real-time requirements on common mobile devices. The platform benefits from Android’s high usability and its wide range of supported hardware.”

There are detailed instructions on how to flash RTAndroid. The instructions request that you use Linux for the installation process, which you can run in a virtual environment on Mac or Windows.

The installation process seems is reasonably simple. Unzip the rtandroid download, and run the install script (pointing it to the mount point of your SD Card).

It’s unsurprising that RTAndroid works well on the Raspberry Pi 3, and we’re waiting to see if Google itself develops the operating system for the Raspberry Pi. This could offer more detailed support, including support for the Touch Screen.

In Google’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository, a device tree for the Raspberry Pi 3 appeared back in May. It was created by Thomas Joseph Avila, but has remained empty since then.

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  • Susan Wolf

    There at at least three distros of Android for the Pi 3, but none of them are any more than demos, of some things that work, and at least one is difficult to install. The Nougat distro web browser works great, but nothing else does. Eventually there will be a better working distro, that installs as easily as Jessie. I appreciate the work that has been done so far.

  • Igor Kalkov

    Thanks for the review, I appreciate it a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t have spare time to write a blog, so it’s nice to have interested people for testing and reporting.

    @disqus_GbiJQXfCSM:disqus Our distribution includes additional functionality intended for making RPi a simple and cheap automation platform. Our goal is to provide a reliable platform for applications beyond simple media and gaming server. Maybe you could name a couple of features you are missing or concrete bugs and we will try to address them in our next release. Right now we are working on automatic OTA updates from our server.

    It is probably worth mentioning, that we plan to commercialize RTAndroid in early 2017. Our business model is not final yet, but we are thinking of a small licensing fee in order to remove the reboot after 24 hours. We plan to keep the evaluation version with all the features available for free for personal (non-commercial) use.

  • John

    Clearly I am an idiot of the highest order….
    How do you install the google apps on a device that can’t be plugged in as a USB slave device?

  • Igor Kalkov

    @disqus_d2WksVi4eP:disqus there is a script for this included into the zip package. You do it using ADB connection.

  • Shivneel

    maybe bluetooth it, or download a .apk and transfer it via usb flash drive.

  • John

    There is a script, and that worked fine once I had enabled adb…
    Enabling adb isn’t obvious on the instructions – I can enable it over USB – but I can’t connect to the Pi3 as a USB slave…

    I ended up enabling the terminal and running:
    su
    setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555
    stop adbd
    start adbd

    To enable adb over the network – then the script ran just fine.

    Overall I was really impressed with the release. My touchscreen worked just fine.
    It’s pretty clearly still beta quality (it sometimes goes into reboot/app optimisation loops for a significant while) – but it’s a really good step (or several actually) in the right direction!

  • Igor Kalkov

    Thanks for your feedback! I’m glad you like it. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for specific features or new bugreports.

    BTW: On RTAndroid builds for RPi the ADB over Network should be enabled by default.

  • John

    That could be better highlighted then 😉

    In general it’s pretty good. I’d rather the ‘evaluation’ notice appeared earlier in the boot cycle – and I keep getting reboot/app optimise loops…
    Not sure where to look, and it’s not happening at easy times to check…

  • hub4port

    you can do it using Amazon FireTV utility app to sideload and install APK to Pi3 over local network

  • Fabian

    Hi I have the official pi 7″ touch screen, is there anyway to get this to work with this android build ?

  • Patrick Kelley

    Hello and sorry for the question, but every time I try to run the script, I get a “…no device with address xxx.xxx.xxx.xx found”

    I’m running it in Windows with Git installed. I can connect to it with ADB connect and it lists in ADB devices, but the script won’t connect. Could be because Windows? Guess I could make a Linux live USB and try it that way. Anyway, if anyone can point out my ignorance, it would be helpful lol

  • Andrew Wang

    “There are a few limitations. You can’t use a touch screen, not even the official Raspberry PI touch display.”

    Read article

  • Gaurav Baliyan

    can i use usb microphone in raspberry pi 3 running android ,if not so please tell me a solution fo input voice in runing android

  • Gaurav Baliyan

    can i use usb microphone in raspberry pi 3 running android ,if not so please tell me a solution fo input voice in runing android.

  • Ed

    Susan,

    I would be very interested in talking with you more about this. I am in an industry where mobile computing is a must, including printer support. We have over 3500 mobile business users and I am the first one to successfully use an android system for our business. Unfortunately this has hardware limitations, S3, S4 and S5 work great but without MTU support things get too expensive. A fully functional Android system with play store access on the PI 3 with the 7″ touch and a printer(samsung M2020W)

  • Every time I read one of these – by the time you get to the bottom – “video doesn’t work” or similar – I keep waiting as none of the other small SBCs seem to be able to run Android very quickly – certainly there is a future for this to run the various video APPs we all take for granted on our Android phones but I do with people would be up-front about solutions to save a lot of reading.

  • Kevin

    Hi, I’m not able to get any audio output with this image in my pi 3 model B. Is there anything specific to be done to get the audio out either through HDMI or analog.

  • Sefa Gül

    hi, how can i change the resolution?

  • dfrmex

    did u try odroid hw?

  • Why are you even bothering with this other than to grab headlines – the very first thing he says is – no Touch Screen! It is little more than a demo.

  • Michael Lin

    You can plug it in as a slave device. You will require Android File Transfer, unless you’re running an OS that supports EXT4, which is what android uses.

  • ksoma

    Does the YouTube app, and the Netflix app, work? With sound?
    If yes, I don’t care if everything else is broken. I just need to make a simple YouTube (and if possible NetFlix) accessible machine.
    If those don’t work, no matter what else does, I have no use for this.

  • Daniel Tad-y

    Good Day ! I just want to ask how you fix the touch screen problem of your device 😀 thanks

  • Can you put Waze on this RT Android?

  • gohilurvish

    I spent a few days just for this. Installed youtube app. App works but videos doesnt play. It stays black.

  • Yosri Tabbene yosri tabbene

    can use the gpio with this os?

  • Pratap Haldar

    I want to make an app which will interact with GPIO pins, can you tell me how to access GPIO pins from app? is there any cordova/android plugin available?

  • Erika deSouza

    Hi, does the Pokemon Go works with this? I bought a RPi 3 for my kid and he would like to have a SD card formatted with “Android” to play Pokemon go.

    In advance, thanx for your time,
    Erika

  • Richard Lennon

    Spotify work?

  • Victor

    adb shell wm size 1920×1080

  • Joseph Perkins

    For those curious about accessing the hardware of your SBC using Android, or Windows 10 IoT or most other OS’s out there, there are two paths. One is an App and one is similar, but is called a _Device Driver_. They have their advantages and their disadvantages. The App is probably the easiest to write in any language (usually Embedded C or GCC or whatever development language is favored by the OS users). The App form can be as complex as needed for your needs, but will suffer portability and flexibility issues. This is fine of you are writing a one off App for, say, a Quad Copter controller. The device driver is more complex because you will need to write in the style the OS dictates and provide links for the OS to enumerate interrupts, streams for data and a whole assortment of fiddly initialization and integration routines. This is the type of solution used for a 3D printer or for making a modular quad copter / robot control platform. With a device driver, despite the greater difficulty writing it, you get portability and flexibility, like streaming control data from a central SBC via WiFi to a fleet of quad copters. In both cases, controlling a GPIO pin is done using inline assembly code or embedded C constructs for bit manipulation on GPIO pins or register bits not in user memory.

  • tommygun722

    I’ve had great success with Banana PI and Banana PI PRO with an Android distribution. I’ve only found one version that works with wireless keyboard/mouse and wifi. Youtube videos work great – 1080 movies, and of course Kodi works great (HDMI).

    WIFI : TP LINK Realtek RTL8188EUS or EDIMAX RTL8188CUS

    I use a logitec wireless keyboard and mouse but every wireless mouse I’ve tried works as well.

    sun7i_android_sugar-bpi.img is the name of the image. I don’t see it available anywhere, but I do have it if you are interested. 477 megabytes.

  • Timothy Lee Rayner

    No notes on bluetooth compatability. With android being a key link in some home automation setups then an ideal solution would be to have 1 R-Pi running android and the relevant apps then passing on the information to another R-Pi with Linux and HomeHab on it.

  • nigra truo

    Yeah, sadly the hardware acceleration for the display is always missing. I wonder why that is? It seems to me like somebody is holding Android hostage to not be installable on just any device. I would love to be able to build my own systems.

  • Gopakumarkm

    Hai..
    I have a RPi 3 and 4 inch touch screen. is there any way to run the android on that Display??/

  • Scott Junior

    If I could get this going on a touchscreen then enable a few apps and use it with the Torque app and run it as gauges in my truck, it would be awesome. Maybe even have it control some relays off usb……maybe some navigation, Id be all set

  • Jonny Lozza

    Hi peeps just wondering if have an rtl.sdr and have seen it running on Samsung pad. Is it possible to use android to run this software from a pi 3 or am I just wasting my time thanks

  • Scooter Strickland

    Scott, give me a holler if you find a way to do your gauges project! Very interested in the same. lgs@writeme.com

  • Nothern Wind

    Hi , i have a quetsion can i use multi usb micraphone for record audi?

  • Hello

  • Patrick Finnigan

    I would recommend raspbian jessie for that type of work. Basicly any Linux OS but not Android for gpio interface. At least not yet its still to unstable and there’s no support for RPI.

  • itovernight

    Is there an actual tutorial somewhere on actually how to build an android device with the Raspberry Pi? What parts (touch screen, case, etc) buy and how to assemble and install android?

  • Xristos Taxo

    Yes I’ve just made a disqus account just to comment that

  • Xristos Taxo

    Hi

  • Marc Wall

    Is it possible to control the gpio pins when you run Android OS?

  • leroyvdberg

    Have you tried using it as a plex client? if yes, how is the streaming performance?

  • Dante Basso

    Using Android on pi3, can I use Kodi with full HD videos, YouTube, play music, Netflix​ without issues?

  • aknit

    English isn’t his first language dude. Back off.

  • Xristos Taxo

    Whoah!! What’s your problem?

  • aknit

    What’s yours?

  • Xristos Taxo

    I don’t have any, you are the guy that popped up like if I said anything insulting … I just said “Hi” and you are reacting like if I insulted his/her mother.

    Calm down buddy, would ya?

    Btw stop saying stuff like “English isn’t my first language” etc … it’s the internet!!! only about 3% is native English speaker so it makes zero sense to say such an excuse when you make a grammar error on the internet.

    Btw No2 Why did you say “English isn’t his first language”? What has that to do with my “Hi”? That’s like the most off-topic thing you could say.

  • aknit

    Bro. Could you chill, I didn’t read a word of that drivel

  • Xristos Taxo

    You’re seriously trying this thing? “Uh, I’m chilled you’re not”. It’s you that had a problem from the beginning and now that you’ve read my comment and realized that your comment was nonsense you’re telling me you didn’t read my comment? C’mon be an adult and admit your fault or start avoiding me, don’t say you didn’t read my comment …

  • aknit

    Why are you so angry?

  • Xristos Taxo

    Why are you behaving like a child?

  • aknit

    Someone who disrespects guys who say “Hi” has the audacity to accuse others of being childish?

  • Xristos Taxo

    Why are you trying to turn this against me all the time? YOU are the one disrespectful here! And why are you saying off-topic things again? What has a simple “Hi” to do with your unreasonable behaviour?

  • Xristos Taxo

    Let me explain how this looks like to a stranger :
    Jeffar – Hello
    Xristos – Hi!
    aknit – Back off dude!!

    Do you see how WTF your comment is?? You make no sense and you still don’t see it?

  • aknit

    You’re clearly delusional. What gives YOU the right to disrespect fellow disqus users? You asked him if he created an account just to say that? You have no manners. Grow up.

  • Xristos Taxo

    What??? NO!!! WTF is wrong with you? Re-read if you’re unsure … I said “Yes I’ve just made a disqus account just to comment that” which
    -OBVIOUSLY(thanks to the “I” on the “I’ve”)- shows that I just created a disqus account just for that, which is something funny and I don’t even know what is supposed to be insulting about it(even if I refereed to Jeffar or someone else). You should go visit a doctor … there’re literally five dudes here and WTF-ing with your comments

  • Xristos Taxo

    I wish Jeffar would reply here to clear things up, so that you can realise how crazy you sound(type -in this case-, I suppose…)

  • b1t3m3

    LMAO r u guys for real?

  • Xristos Taxo

    I don’t know anymore …

  • aknit

    I’m quite sure if you even understand English yourself. Your command of it is quite poor. Maybe this is why you’re so rude. It’s because you don’t know what you’re saying

  • Xristos Taxo

    It’s a joke ffs … PS I’m not the one being rude … the only thing I see in every one of your comments is that you’re always trying to pass your bs as my bs. What’s next? You’re gonna pretend that you’re the victim?

  • aknit

    I am the victim. You are just a rude troll who serves no other purpose than to mess with people. Give me one thing constructive that you’ve said this entire thread.

  • Xristos Taxo

    Are you kidding me? Every time I read one of your comments I have to think “is this a troll?” EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’m not going to listen that $#!t of yours, I’m deleting my account

  • aknit

    So that’s what you do? You behave so like a douchebag and you leave? Well done on being raised with no values!

  • edwardheyburn

    This is the best and oddest thread ever.

  • Taidgh

    What the hell do you mean “I dont know anymore …”? Are you trying to be funny? You can’t go around saying things like that to people like it means nothing. This is the internet man!
    If you were in my town I would whip you to within an inch of your life. Its practically blasphemy… and if it isn’t then it bloody well should be!
    I just dont know anymore …

  • Xristos Taxo

    Alright first of all disqus wont delete my account even though they said it will be deleted within 24 hours of that day.
    2nd) WTH is YOUR problem again? I was serious because I don’t know if the other guy was “for real” or just a troll. I don’t know how you got that idea(that it was a joke).
    3rd) Is this a threat? What if I AM in your town, huh? You’ll try to mess with me? You don’t want to pick a fight with a soldier, kid.
    4th) Damn, you guys make a huge deal of an innocent “Hi”. Just think about it … everything I type you misinterpret it just so you can get “fairly” get triggered, you got a big problem.

  • Taidgh

    Firstly, my full apologies for being a troll. In fact I felt I was being so “troll-y” that you must have realised! You might have seen that as my last sentence was “I just dont know anymore …”
    The internet is perhaps the last bastion of free speech even as we are watching it being eroded and I would gladly take a whipping so that it would be truly free while I wouldn’t actually feel all that comfortable giving someone a whipping. Especially as blasphemy is , as they say, a victimless crime. I certainly wouldn’t delete an account just because someone else got a bit butthurt cause you said “Hi”
    Lastly, …. I just dont know anymore….

    At the risk of going completely off topic, Android on Pi3 almost works beautifully.
    I got it set up for audio to run two Minirig blue tooth speakers (Left and right audio) but now Im trying to control the Pi wirelessly using Volumio on another PI3.
    I have set up Multiroom audio using Volumio but I want wireless (left and right audio) for the garden?

  • Xristos Taxo

    Sorry I didn’t realise that you were trolling (sarcasm is difficult to understand on the internet). Anyway I created this account just for the “Hi”(look at my second comment) so the account has no meaning(it will not be used ever again), I want to delete it in order to stop receiving email notifications.

    I left my pi3 on the shelf because I’ll have to return to duty but I’ll try as soon as i return, thanks.

  • Mc Duran

    Is there really no way to control the gpio pins using an android application installed on the RPI? We are planning to create an android app with that functionality but we are not certain if that is possible.

  • Mc Duran

    Leaving a reply here so i can read the reply of someone who knows.

  • Mc Duran

    leaving a reply here cause i need an answer too.

  • Patrick Finnigan

    To my knowledge there is no way to directly control them with Android on a Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is very volatile when it comes to Android, you can Port it to to a Raspberry Pi but I’ve noticed in all of my testing it is very unstable and there are no official releases to my knowledge it would have to be something invented and I would recommend a rooted image for full control of Android.

    In theory a Possible solution would be to use something like the app Tasker to sending HTTP requests to your networked Pi.

    Also maybe if you could get into a terminal within Android on your Raspberry Pi there’s a possibility you could write something to directly interface with the pis Hardware but I’m just not sure.

    Mc Duran I wish you all the best in these endeavors as I have come up empty. If you do come through with a breakthrough I would love to hear about it.

    And to anyone else reading these posts if I am wrong please call me out on it, and post a solution. These are just my experiences thus far.

  • Rob

    Here is the missing piece to this entire argument that put’s it all into perspective, at the bottom…lol

  • dazzlesoftware

    I been developing a version myself right now I plan to open my github soon as 99% is working and seems stable but does need public testing

  • Rod Ch

    I guess what we all really need is an app store for Raspbian that app builders will upload to Google is NOT going to play nice with the pi community ever…there is no profit in it for them

  • Ali

    I downloaded and copyied the image to sdcard via Win32DiskImager, Screen is stuck on RTAndroid boot up screen, Left it on that screen for almost an hour but no luck. Tried re-starting but get stuck at same boot up screen.

  • Saud

    Gives a whole new meaning to ‘One-sided conversation’