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Android 1.0 ported to Nokia N810

Dec 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

Developers at Linux consulting firm NthCode have ported Android 1.0 to Nokia's N810 Internet tablet — and they explain how they did it in a detailed LinuxDevices whitepaper. The paper details the changes Google made to the Linux kernel, and offers step-by-step porting tips.

(Click for larger view of Android 1.0 running on Nokia N810)

As detailed in the whitepaper by NthCode CEO Peter McDermott, his full Android port follows up on this July's announcement from hackers PenguinBait, B-man, and QWERTY-12, who hacked a pre-release version of Android onto the N810. With the release of the final Android 1.0 in late October, McDermott and his team, including NthCode developer Tang Yongjun, decided it would be fun to take the next step. NthCode is a Beijing-based consulting firm specializing in Linux device development, in markets that include mobile phones, set-top boxes, and “converged” multimedia devices.

In the whitepaper, McDermott provides an overview of Android and its underlying foundation of Linux, Eclipse, and Android's Java-like Dalvik Virtual Machine (VM). Dalvik, he suggests, was created by Google “to escape from needing to cede control or pay a license fee to Sun.” He also describes the Android emulator, which he dubs “as complete an emulator as we have ever seen.”

The NthCode team ran a painstaking comparison between Android's Linux kernel and the mainline kernel and found the differences to be “significant.” Google had changed 75 files and added an additional 88, making substantial changes in emulation, power management, Netfilter, debugging, memory handling, and other areas.

After summarizing the changes, the author takes the reader step by step through porting the kernel changes to the 2.6.25 Linux kernel, adding the Android patches, and bringing up Android on the N810.

McDermott cautions that his Android port is only the beginning. To get Android applications running on the N810, they plan to add support for the Android Debug Bridge, fix an intermittent system crash, and try to enable battery charging when the power supply is plugged in. The port also lacks Internet access, thanks to binary-only driver support for the N810's WiFi chip. So, he plans to either enable the WiFi chip or at least bring up USB Ethernet. The N810 has no cellphone, of course, so that is not part of the picture, but VoIP is always possible via the WiFi.

In other Android porting news, earlier this week, a group of hackers announced they have ported Android to the IPhone.

The McDermott whitepaper can be found here.

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