8 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:
    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


    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,

  • 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

    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