Raspberry Pi to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Raspberry Pi to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Summary: If you own a Raspberry Pi computer, you should be excited to learn that an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) port is coming. Unfortunately, there's no information about Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) support, but it's still great news to hear.

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Raspberry Pi to get Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced Android is coming to its tiny device. More specifically, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is being ported over to the credit-card sized Linux computer.

Ever since it launched, the Raspberry Pi has been snapped up by enthusiasts as quickly as children grab candy in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. As such, nobody should be surprised to learn that Android is getting official support:

This implementation uses a different kernel and VideoCore binary image from the one available on GitHub, which is why we’ve been keeping quiet about it so far. We’re investigating the feasibility of converging the two code lines to produce a single common platform as soon as we can, at which point we hope to release the sources for you to play with.

So far, the port is going well. Hardware-accelerated graphics and video are a go. AudioFlinger (Google's audio system for Android devices) support is the only major missing piece at the moment, according to the foundation. Here's a quick demonstration:

Unfortunately, there is no date to look forward to for Android 4.0 support. Based on the video above, however, I would expect a release sometime later this month.

Last month, Google open-sourced Android (Jelly Bean) 4.1 for third-party modification. It's currently unclear why the Raspberry Pi team isn't going with Jelly Bean, but I think it's safe to assume it's because they started work on the port before the latest version of Android had been made available to all.

For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is sold uncased and comes with an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB ports, and an SD card slot. While it's powered by a 700MHz ARM chip and comes with 256MB of RAM, the device requires that you supply your own keyboard and monitor. The currently-available Model B costs £22 ($35), although Model A for £16 ($25) is coming later this year.

See also:

Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Security, Software

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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8 comments
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  • android 4.0 is obsolete

    I have 4.1 Jelly Bean. 4.0.x is obsolete. To the press and websites: Please review old versions of android with disdain. Complain that it is obsolete, and there will be no further review unless the code updates. To the manufacturer. Stock android is way better than your dumb hacked up versions. Please use the latest android code with less hacks and stop being babies about it. The OS costs you nothing, stop trying to hijack it.
    mickrussom@...
    • Sorry but you don't understand Android at all

      There is no "To the manufacturer" for Raspberry Pi - The Raspberry Pi Foundation is *THE* manufacturer and this build is complied from AOSP (Android Open Source Project).

      The workflow for all manufacturers is the same. They get the Android code from AOSP and make their own device driver HAL works with AOSP and then you've got your released build for a device. Raspberry Pi version of ICS *IS THE STOCK ANDROID*, not a "hacked up" version.

      The reason of why they go for ICS first probably because driver code base for ICS and JB esssentially is the same but JB tooks much more video memory than ICS because of double/triple video buffering. For memory stricted device like Raspberry Pi, which only has 256 MB memory, it's a lot of memory to ask.
      Samic
    • What I hear is

      Blah blah, blah I'm entitled blah blah blah, me me blah blah.
      dimonic
  • This is absolutely lovely for Pi owners

    Meanwhile there are still people with eligible handsets waiting for the 4.0 rollout...
    athynz
    • Which is absolutely nothing to do with Raspberry Pi

      Which means that you are "off-topic".
      Zogg
  • nice

    mmm pi
    Scarface Claw
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    Joseph Montes
  • This is important!

    Actually porting Android to the hobbyist's computer is pretty important. That's how MS Dos got started! I know Android hardly needs this kind of boost, but i can already see apps developers moving to Android, and if the next generation grew up on Android this could be interesting
    HugoM