News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Penguinistas hack Android onto real hardware

Jan 9, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Several actual hardware devices have been hacked to run Google's Java-based Android software stack, according to blogs and forum posts around the Internet. Although Google's preview release last fall included a software emulator based on Qemu, real hardware may provide a better target for application development.

Spread the word:
digg this story

The first hardware platform to run the Android stack appears to have been Atmark-Techno's Armadillo-500, a development board based on Freescale's i.MX31L mobile applications processor (and recently supported by TimeSys). The port appears to have been accomplished back on Nov. 22, when a video appeared showing the board rapidly booting up into a graphical environment resembling the familiar Google search interface homepage.

Android on the Armadillo-500
(Click to play)

The video above was first published on an “Unstable” blog. The apparently anonymous author deferred most of the credit for the port to Benno Leslie, a programmer with Austrialia's NICTA R&D lab whose earlier work had apparently focused on trying to get Android running on the Neo1973.

Sharp SL-C760
(Click for details)

Then, within two weeks, a software development outsourcing lab in Budapest, Hungary known as “Eu.Edge” suggested that the Android stack could run on “any device with an ARMv5TE CPU,” given adequate RAM and Flash (presumably, more recent ARM cores, such as that in the i.MX31 also work). Eu.Edge published an outline of booting Android on the Sharp SL-C760.

Next, a couple of days before Christmas, a Japanese “AndroidZaurus” user posted news of success running Android on the Sharp Zaurus C3000M. His or her blog features screenshots of Android's “Lunar Lander” game, OpenGL 3D graphics demos, style picker, and views of Google's index page rendered in 13 different languages — all apparently captured from his Zaurus.

Then, just before New Year's Day, a Dutch Open Embedded Software Forum user named “cortez” posted links to an Android filesystem built to run alongside Poky Linux in a chrooted environment, along with easy-to-follow directions for installing Android on the SL-C3x00. Other forum users subsequently got the stack running on the SL-6000 and several other Zaurus models running Angstrom and Debian, in addition to Poky. One posted a video of Android being put through its paces on a clamshell Zaurus model.

Linux phone stack vendor Trolltech certainly proved the appeal of actual target devices, with its Greenphone, and Google will in time almost certainly offer or at least officially support specific development hardware for Android (OpenMoko's forthcoming Neo FreeRunner comes to mind as one option). Meanwhile, it's nice to know that enterprising Linux developers haven't lost the knack for clever hardware hacks and creative workarounds. The ports of Android to real hardware have already resulted in the development of several applets, including a popular screen rotation applet.

For an overview of the Android SDK, be sure to check out our earlier Adroid SDK review. Google's official Android developer page is here. For more details about various Sharp Zaurus models, visit out Linux PDA showcase.

Thanks to Paul Mansfield for letting us know about this.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.