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.
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.