Android has been ported to a RISC-V board

News Highlights: Android has been ported to a RISC-V board

Google’s Android operating system currently supports a handful of Instructions Set Architecture (ISA) families, including ARM and x86. The vast majority of smartphones, tablets, TVs and smartwatches running Android today have ARM-based chipset designs, as Intel has long since abandoned its handset CPUs, while support for MIPS was discontinued with NDK revision 17. Although Google Does Not Support Officially To compile Android on hardware based on the open RISC-V ISA, several development teams are working to run AOSP on RISC-V hardware. One such effort is led by T-Head, Alibaba’s business entity specializing in semiconductors, which announced today that they have successfully ported Android 10 to its internal RISC-V hardware.

A few months ago, PLCT Lab started up successfully Android to a command line interface on a 64-bit RISC-V core emulated in QEMU. The team has launched a project on GitHub that they “AOSP for RISC-VAnd are still in the early stages of cross-compiling AOSP and booting to a GUI. Meanwhile, T-Head, who designed the ICE SoC with its in-house, RISC-V-based XuanTie C910 cores, has managed to boot Android 10 with working graphics and touch.

T-Head’s ICE chip with 3 XuanTie C910 (RISC-V 64) CPU cores.

It works quite slowly as you can see in the video below, but this is to be expected given the status of this port and the hardware it is running on. The video launches a number of AOSP standard applications, including the clock app, the contacts app, and the mail app. More complex applications such as games are not shown on this prototype as these apps will likely need to be recompiled to target RISC-V.

This Android 10 port is based on the android10 release branch in AOSP and the source code developed by T-Head can be found on the company’s GitHub page.

This is an exciting development for the open hardware community. Since RISC-V is a free and open ISA, anyone is free to design chips based on it without paying any licensing fees or royalties. That doesn’t stop companies from extending RISC-V with custom instruction set extensions – after all, RISC-V does. an authorized license – but it does significantly lower the barrier to entry for new companies looking to design their own chips. Vendors looking to create low-cost IoT products will be interested in using RISC-V to develop low-cost chips, while companies looking to reduce their reliance on competitors or foreign entities will also show interest. With NVIDIA taking over ARM and the US government forcing ARM to cut ties with Huawei, we will no doubt see more and more interest in RISC-V from technology companies around the world. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to really say how much traction RISC-V is gaining, as vendors don’t have to disclose its uses.

Via: www.xda-developers.com

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