Android Donut Running On A Graphing Calculator

[Josh] is trying to fight a misconception that Android only runs on fast, powerful smartphones. He’s convinced Android will run on extremely low-end hardware, and after a great deal of searching, hit upon a great combination. He’s running Android Donut on a TI nSpire CX graphing calculator.

Unlike just about every other TI calculator, homebrew developers are locked out of the nSpire CX and CX CAS. Without the ability to run native applications on this calculator, [Josh] would be locked out of his platform of choice without the work of the TI calculator community and Ndless, the SDK for this series of calculators.

With the right development environment, [Josh] managed to get the full Android stack up and running and ironed the bugs out. Everything he’s done is available on the GitHub for this project, and with the instructions on the xda developers post, anyone can get a version of Android running on this TI calculator.

While [Josh] has Android Donut running along with most of the 1.6 apps, a terminal emulator, keyboard, WiFi, USB, and Bluetooth running, this calculator-come-Android isn’t as useful as you think it would be. The vast majority of calculator emulators on the Google Play store require Android version 2.2 and up. Yes, [Josh] can still run a TI-83 emulator on his calculator, but finding an app that’s compatible with his version of Android is a challenge.

Still, even with a 150MHz processor and 64MB of RAM – far less than what was found in phones that shipped with Donut – [Josh] is still getting surprisingly good performance out of his calculator. He can play some 2D games on it, and the ability to browse the web with a calculator is interesting, to say the least. It is, however, the perfect example that you don’t need the latest and greatest phone to run Android. Sometimes you don’t even need a phone.

18 thoughts on “Android Donut Running On A Graphing Calculator

  1. But can he pick up the abandoned AxDroid project and make it work better? The Dell Axim x51V was pretty much the best Windows CE PDA, with 640×480 LCD and support for an external VGA monitor.

    The major stumbling block was video, only the bare basic bones of 2D video capabilities of the PDA’s GPU were known so AxDroid didn’t support any of the fancy bits. Also, the developer never got around to an install that would totally replace WinCE, which should have improved performance.

    1. I used to do a bit of CE work, and have been featured a few times. It has to be said though, for the power that you’d get from Android on an x51v, you’d be better off just porting a more recent version of CE. I think any modern-enough-to-be-useful Android would be monstrously frustrating on that little memory/CPU power.

        1. You don’t go into Burger King and order two Whoppers Junior. People just look at your weird. At the very least your order is wrong. You swallow your pride and order two Whopper Juniors. It’s incorrect, but nobody makes a big deal out of it.

          1. Wouldn’t that depend on whether the name was “Whopper” and the size junior, or if the trade name of the burger is “Whopper Junior”? While ‘junior’ in this case can be read as a size adjective, it could also be read as part of a two word proper noun; I don’t know which one BK considers proper.

            As for latin, I don’t have to guess. The trolls are bad enough that first you’d get told calculator-come-Android and then something about “mind in the gutter” and the trolls feed themselves from there.

          2. Still it’s sad if a perfectly good Latin word that’s been used since forever, goes out of use because porno producers can’t spell. Or was this an exception for you, with the expected readership in mind?

          3. Grenaum:

            I expected the readership to fill the comments with shit had I used the proper Latin. Now we only have in-depth threads about the pluralization of ‘Whopper Junior’. Six of one, half dozen of the other, really.

          4. Brian: Partly it’s people being weenies as ever. But secondly I think it’s the engineering mindset. Geeks like to know they’re correct, and are interested in finding out if they’re not, and why. It’s about how things work, which applies to language, which is a system like any other. You can tell the difference. I’ll happily debate any old point, as normal people kill themselves in droves.

    1. TI offer firmware updates. Whether they check the old firmware, dunno. There’s no need to except to spite people who hack their calculators, so probably yes. The site lets you download the new firmware even if you select “I don’t use TI N-spire software”.

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