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Android 4.0 comes to the Raspberry Pi

August 1, 2012
Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi board has achieved huge popularity because of its low-price of $25-$35 (depending on the version of the chip), which makes it more of an impulse buy than anything. People just buy them now and figure out what to do with them later.

The project should also get a big boost from the education sector, as schools might want to buy the board for kids to play with. Something like Raspberry Pi should become very popular in developing countries, provided that the company behind it can make enough units to satisfy demand.

Raspberry Pi has supported Fedora Linux from day one, but it doesn’t support Ubuntu, because Ubuntu doesn’t work on the old ARMv6 architecture that powers the board. Moreover, Canonical, the company that makes Ubuntu, has no plans to go back and support an obsolete architecture. This is why I am hoping that generation 2.0 of the Raspberry Pi will be built on an ARMv7 chip like Cortex A7, maybe even a dual-core for extra performance, as long as it doesn’t spike the price too much.

There are now other Linux distros that work on the Raspbery Pi, like Raspbian, a custom Linux distro made specifically for the single-board computer, which seems to be the best choice right now.

But, since the chip in the Raspberry Pi is ARM, and one that custom ROM developers in the Android community are familiar with, the Raspberry Pi is now getting a port of Android 4.0 as well.

The port is not working fully right now, but it seems that hardware acceleration has been working smoothly for a while. If you don’t like using Linux on the Raspberry Pi, you might like using Android 4.0 a little more, even though the apps are not specifically made for desktop use.

You do get to use XBMC, though, now that it’s on Android, so you can use it as your media center box. Don’t expect to use Chrome, though, because it doesn’t work on the ARMv6 architecture. Watch the video below to see how the Android 4.0 port is running on the Raspberry Pi: