Android 4.0 on Raspberry Pi

The folks over at the Raspberry Pi foundation are showing off their latest wares. This time around it’s Android 4.0 running on the Raspberry Pi. Although this is a pre-release announcement, it sounds like the work is rather far along. Hardware acceleration for video playback is in place, but there are still some audio issues that need to be fixed before it will be ready.

We know the foundation isn’t the first one to pull this kind of thing off. Look around and you can see some other proof-of-concept videos which show Ice Cream Sandwich running on the board in one stage or another. But the demo from the video after the break gives us hope that rock solid support is just around the corner. After all, Netflix runs on Android and so does XBMC. Both running on the RPi brings the device one step closer to the holy grail of dirt cheap and mostly-open set top boxes. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is the killer control method for the device. If you’ve got one up your sleeve you should post some details and send us the link.

Comments

  1. Can’t wait to try this out on my friends Pi.

    On the subject of remotes.
    I recently bough one of these cheap guys: http://goo.gl/rzEex
    It’s nice because it came with it’s own usb Bluetooth dongle. The buttons have that nice click sensation to them as well. I use it on my Atrix 4G for my TV because the digitizer has a dead zone. Which I am selling if anyone is interested. But they keyboard works pretty solidaly.

  2. cgimark says:

    Don’t get your hopes up about the pi running netflix unless broadcom gets involved. The reason is that while netflix runs on android it only does so if the hardware DRM is enabled. People always wonder why linux doesn’t have netflix and think , oh its no silverlight is why, sorry but that isn’t the reason.

    Almost all bluray players run linux and those that support netflix do not use silverlight nor any component of it. Bluray players have hardware DRM support that the linux drivers use, pc linux users don’t have that hardware drm and so that is why they do not have netflix.

    Same issue with the pi, the only way netflix will work is if broadcom ports the driver with DRM intact and even then netflix has to allow the device to be used by adding the hardware keys inside the chip to their approved list.

    I wish netflix was on linux and open hardware but it will never happen until holllywood allows no drm, yeah right.

    • Rob says:

      surely there’s a way to emulate/imitate known good hardware keys…

      • cgimark says:

        nope, there is currently no known method. Broadcom has huge stakes in content protection because their main business comes from cable and satellite tv providers as well as media player chipsets. If you go to the broadcom site you will notice media chipsets do not have much information other than a sales description. Getting a datasheet or more tech info requires nda and broadcom is known for being the most unfriendly company to hobbyist, broadcom only allowed the pi to use their hardware but still didn’t release all the information. They can’t afford to lose cable companies by catering to hobbyist.

    • Pun says:

      Solution to the Netflix problem: don’t use Netflix.

    • mike says:

      ive seen it mentioned before, there are open-source implementations of silverlight that could almost run netflix

      but they lack the DRM modules required to make it work, and netflix would never auth the keys for an open-source implementation, even if it was compatible

    • naviathan says:

      This is entirely not true. It has nothing to do with “hardware DRM”. Netflix and Hulu would have the same compliance requirements to be used on any platform, yet we have a Hulu player in Linux. We don’t have a desktop Linux implementation because Netflix doesn’t view it as a viable market to extend their services. In other words, the number of users is so small that it’s not worth the money.

      • cgimark says:

        Stop mentioning silverlight, it has ZERO to do with netflix running on linux. I write code for bluray players and I assure you we never ever discuss how it works with anything microsoft. Hulu works on linux pc because that is the deal they have with the studios for their content, netflix cannot get the same deal because of the amount of content they offer and the studios involved. If you want things that are currently unavailable working on linux , like netflix, then the very first thing you need to do is create a protected content path that has totally closed drivers and kernel . Linux pc users will not hear of that though because they have to have everything open, even if it hurts them by doing it.

      • cgimark says:

        One other thing about netflix, they do not write the code on your bluray, or anything else that plays the content, us the firmware creators do. We are given an api and how to access it, we can then run it on any OS and system that meets their approval, be it ARM, MIPS, x86 or even PPC, they don’t care as long as the content is protected.

        Again it isn’t about netflix not wanting a pc linux port, it is that no developer is going to bother doing it for linux pc because they can’t get it passed, believe me I have tried for years now, they always stick on the ‘how are you going to guarantee the content ?”

      • naviathan says:

        I didn’t mention silverlight.

  3. seanlydon says:

    But won’t run on google’s N1? Blasphemy!

  4. biqut2 says:

    This would be nice with a bamboo touch pad on the coffee table.

  5. German says:

    Maybe the cheapest, tinniest and easiest method to control a Rpi with Android would be Droidmote… you can control it from your smartphone…

  6. BrysonR says:

    But can it run Minecraft Pocket Edition?

  7. SuperNurd says:

    I stopped at some desolate video game store while on the way home from a road trip and found a PS2 DVD Remote (IR based) previously used for pennies over 1 dollar and it was fairly easy to salvage for control. It comes with the IR receiver and with just a small amount of sniffing I started using it for control with my Proto-RC-Bot and it worked great! It has the “special” keys (square, triangle, etc.) so it is great for multipurpose, going to ad some USB support to it soon and it will make a great media remote( it will be for my RPi), also I’m going to start my RPi portable Project with a small PSP analog stick for a mouse and hopefully a small Phone keyboard attached. This announcement of Android 4.0 on it fills me with happiness!

  8. n0lkk says:

    The old guard of media content creators & distributing will never support open anything. What’s so sad is that’s now possible to have a pardygm shit that could benefit artist & consumer. Not going to happen because an artist can offer 1000 songs for $0.001, but too many will still that’s too much to pay & download them for free if they can. Deep down in there hearts the membership of the RIAA really love internet copying because ultimately it will keep them in business, even if they aren’t making as much profit as possible. Effectively kill copying via the web they are toast,because they have no value to add.

  9. Bacchus says:

    Controlling it should be easy – VNC on a ‘phone?

    Just run a server that has some big button-like icons on the desktop.

  10. jonathan wolf says:

    XBMC has an add-on that accesses Netflix, and there are a lot of XBMC remotes available for Android.

  11. genny says:

    with droidmote on Raspberry Pi you can play also with games and apps that support only touch screen.

    if you not have a ouch screen monitor.

  12. Donovan says:

    When I see how lame this thing reacts in simple things like menu / loading applications, I wish somebody would finally write an appropriate operating system for this kind of processor.
    I’ve got a beagleboard here. That OMAP processor is a gazillion times faster than my first PC-like system and still response time is lower than a 20 years old amiga workbench 1.3 :-(

    *Thumbs down* from my side for linux based systems on ARM-architectures

    • willrandship says:

      Linux really isn’t your problem there. What you really want is a decent WM and DE, not to mention software that’s light enough. OpenOffice will probably never be speedy on the RPi, same goes for Firefox, but a well written, lightweight software suite would run quite nicely.

      Of course, replacing linux, you can wait for the RISC OS port. That should run blazingly fast.

      • Donovan says:

        Thanks for the hint. I’ll probably give RiscOS a try.
        But I think it’s difficult to find a compromise for these kind of systems in between productivity, responsiveness and usability.

        Productivity = Have system that suits a specific requirement like media player, www, etc

        Responsiveness = Don’t want the poor response time of a debian linux

        Usability = Don’t want a system that needs tweaking and hacking all the time. It should just work.

  13. naturetm says:

    I was hoping this would happen! Can’t wait to give it a shot.

    As far as a remote, has anyone tried using a wiimote with their Raspi? I know it’s been used as a Linux mouse and I bet it would be great for XBMC or Android.

  14. Plasstech says:

    Android xbmc, throw in a Flirc for control, and I can get rid of these power hungry PC’s that I’m using

  15. John says:

    How about an xbox 360 controller? You can get a little keyboard attachment that’s about the size of a phone and use one of the joysticks as a mouse.

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