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Communications Google Hardware Hacking Build Linux

Hackers Get Android Running on Real Hardware 73

nerdyH writes "Google's Android stack for Linux phones has been successfully hacked onto several actual hardware devices, including Linux-based Sharp Zaurus PDAs and a high-end development board. Google's preview release of Android last fall included a software emulator based on Qemu, but you can't beat real target hardware when writing applications for devices, because emulators may not accurately reflect real-world performance. Plus, it appears that Android's modern UI could really breathe some new life into lots of Linux-friendly hardware with ARMv5TE or better cores."
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Hackers Get Android Running on Real Hardware

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  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:05PM (#21975484) Journal
    Now I love the idea of stackable androids, but what are we really talking about here?
    • Re:Android stack? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yetihehe ( 971185 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:08PM (#21975526)
      You don't know what is Google Android [google.com]? What kind of geek are you?
      • I'm pretty sure he was trying to make a porn joke, but perhaps not

        No, an Android threesome is not a p2p network.

      • He should have been an AC because now we know who's geek card to revoke.

        Hatta (162192) agents will be there momentarily to collect your card and your star trek stuff and to change your WoW password and will also change you operating system to Windows Vista. Have a nice day.
        • by Hatta ( 162192 )
          What I don't get is why geeks give a shit about phones in the first place? I guess this Android stuff gives them something to play with while waiting for someone to call.
          • The phone is only a fraction of the hype the rest is that it is Google who's name is on it and it has to do with the fact that the device is now becoming more and more like a personal computer rather than just a phone. Also it is because the small devices are becoming more powerful and geeks want to do more powerful and useful things with them. Normally we wouldn't be able to do so much customization with a phone's original OS and it should allow for more applications and games. Google Android isn't for jus
    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )
      It's open software platform what runs top of GNU/Linux OS and android is founded by Google http://code.google.com/android/ [google.com] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm6Ju0xhUW8 [youtube.com]

      Does someone know is it possible to run android top of other OS like BSD?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:06PM (#21975498)
    Too bad that Android SDK defaults to QVGA .. most Android apps are going to work best in QVGA (320 x 240).. not other resolutions like VGA or higher that are better for convenient web browsing. I doubt there will be VGA or higher Android phones anytime soon .. So the platform will not go too well. It sucks cause I had hope for it.
    • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:29PM (#21975762) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, that's what killed the iPhone - totally failed because it doesn't run at VGA resolution.

      At least the Android simulator can be configured to launch in VGA mode (or any resolution), as well as the default QVGA and HVGA modes. I hope the iPhone dev-kit is as forward-thinking.
    • by pslam ( 97660 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:03PM (#21976258) Homepage Journal
      Do you have any idea about the rarity and expense of small VGA resolution LCDs? There's a reason most mobile phones don't have a lot of pixels.
      • So? Three years ago, most mobile phone screens weren't QVGA, either. Meanwhile, quite a few new handhelds come out with VGA screens these days. I would expect VGA to be used in majority of devices (yes, including mobile phones) in 3 years at most. A platform which wants to remain relevant by then should be able to adapt seamlessly.
        • In *smart* phones maybe, but certainly not in normal cellphones. VGA resolution with the usual small screen-size of todays mobiles would result in 400-500DPI displays. I would think that would be a) bloody expensive b) a complete waste as normal mobiles don't have any real use for such a high-quality display anyway. Smartphones are obviously an entirely different beast
          • Again, this would hold true 3 years ago - no non-smartphone phone would have a QVGA screen then - but it is no longer true today. My Nokia 6300 is not a smartphone, but it's QVGA.

            I agree that it doesn't make much sense to increase the resolution further for the phones, but when was gadget market ever about sense? One doesn't need 12MP digital cameras either, but here they are...

      • Well, VGA is 640x480 and my $350 Nokia N800 is 800x480. Apparently the touch screen is about $40 to replace, certainly less for Nokia. Doesn't sound too steep to me?
    • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:19PM (#21976512)

      That is so true.

      I'm writing this on a nokia N95 (seriously, one of our tubes sprung a leak and we only have wifi) and /. really sucks at this resolution. The only thing worse than the eye strain and constant scrolling is typing on the keypad because I am too cheap to buy a bluetooth keyboard.

      Predictive text helps a bit but sometimes it gets things so ducking wrong that I am sure the people who program it are a deliberately unhelpful bunch of ducking aunts.

    • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:42PM (#21976868) Homepage Journal
      The article's link shows the Armadillo-500 board running Android full-screen on a desktop LCD, and at least one of the Zaurus models mentioned has a 640x480 display.

      Apparently, even when shoe-horned into untested hardware, Android has no trouble adapting the UI to the dimensions of the screen that Linux reports. So why are people whining about screen size, and why is it being mod'ed up?
  • by Hokie06 ( 986634 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:08PM (#21975528)
    But does it have an emotions chip?
    • Yes, but only the 60GB model. The 40GB model doesn't even have the Graphics Synthesizer. The lack of an emotions chip is not a great disadvantage, though, since (through emulation) attitudes other than "Depressed", "Paranoid" and "Gloomy" are selectable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rbanffy ( 584143 )
      That very old. My PS2 had an Emotion Engine (TM) years ago.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, but I hear that it is "fully functional."
  • by GroeFaZ ( 850443 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:21PM (#21975664)
    Timothy, you have no idea how true that is. The headline even made me read the fucking summary! Well, just the first line anyway, but you get the point.
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:27PM (#21975728)
    Every time I see some cool new announcement for Android I think we've got a cool new robotics development and then I realize it's just a cell phone. I bet they're going to come out with a new product called Flying Car and it'll just be an mp3 player.
  • true variety (Score:2, Interesting)

    by debatem1 ( 1087307 )
    This is a very impressive thing, not just because it makes it easier to test, but more importantly because it promises to allow the same distro scheme used by mainstream linux on cell phones. some may see that as a downside, but if it does develop I think its just one more reason to support open, upgradeable platforms.
  • by the 99th penguin ( 1453 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:32PM (#21975806) Journal
    I hope that it will be able to replace windows mobile on my HTC device soon (the O2 XDA, not sure exactly what model that would be). I am sure that the actual hardware of the phone is not too bad but things are just so slow.

    Like TFS says, it is great to have something to run on older hardware, especially with the way the phone market works these days trying to get you to do upgrades as often as possible, most of the time unnecessarily. How many don't just want a phone to use as a phone? I know my grandfather wouldn't mind having a special stripped down version of Android with only basic functions and if I can pick up an old used phone that most people think is outdated to run it on that would be perfect.
    • Seconded. Get this to run on an HTC StrTrk (Cingular 3125 in the States, not sure internationally) and I might actually start liking it.
    • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:42PM (#21977686) Homepage
      I am looking forward to that too.

      Although I am in Canada, I bought an unlocked HTC Hermes/TyTN (AT&T/Cingular 8525) from eBay. Being a GSM phone, my SIM card from Rogers worked instantly.

      Here is to hoping that Google or HTC will provide that, although that would anger HTC's clients (the carriers).
    • Hold on a minute...you're hoping something written in java is going to outperform windows WRT speed?

      Put down the glue.
      Step away from the glue.
      Do not sniff any more glue.
  • by primadd ( 1215814 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:37PM (#21975866) Homepage
    Google would work together with OpenMoko / aka Freerunner. The OpenMoko release date gets pushed back every few weeks, they could use some serious help.
    --
    bookmark me [primadd.net]
    • Just to clarify: OpenMoko is the name of the Linux distribution, FreeRunner and Neo1973 are the devices this distribution is being developed for.
  • Technical Re-purpose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @05:45PM (#21975994) Homepage Journal
    As a fan of SciFi, I always love the "mad hacker" who takes a bunch of old parts and kludges together something interesting. We are a long way from that... We have always had PCs. You buy them with an MS OS and you can re-purpose them into Linux devices of various types.

    But I love the idea of taking older form factor cell phones, which are really abandoned tech, and wiping out the older operating environment and replacing it with Android. It's not quite the way the built R2D2 in star wars but it's a step in that direction.

    - liberating commodity hardware
    - installing commodity software
    - creating something interesting and useful.
  • by GHynson ( 1216406 ) <GHynson@Hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @06:18PM (#21976486)
    Where's my flying robot that follows me around everywhere. They promised us a Moon Base, Flying Cars, Flying PDA's, And Android chicks...since the 60's. And all I have to show is this POS iPhone. Blah!!!!
    • Yep, they promised 40 acres and a flying car, and they haven't even shipped an affordable personal jetpack yet... and they had THAT in "Lost in Space"!
    • "The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." - William Gibson.

      Consider yourself lucky to live in a country where iPhones are available in every retail store. So you are far more near to the future than the 80% of the world.

  • I really hope my next phone runs Linux!
  • would be interesting to see this on an N800. It already runs Linux as its base OS and has a nice 640xsomething screen. Now the things are dirt cheap since the launch of the N810 it's the kind of thing that could push me into getting one, so I could play with Android a bit.
    • by simong ( 32944 )
      I was just thinking that myself. I bought a 770 when they were being dumped earlier this year and they must be a good candidate for getting the platform onto - it's ARM based, and if it's been done on the Zaurus it shouldn't be too hard as the architecture is very similar. Hmm, there's something to while away the long winter nights...
    • by rasjani ( 97395 )
      Would be nice ofcourse.. Except there's no suitable java vm yet available for the platform afaik (atleast thats the case when i was doing some stuff on the platform - about 4 months ago)
      • No JVM, No Problem (Score:5, Informative)

        by TobascoKid ( 82629 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @07:19AM (#21982150) Homepage
        While you use the Java language to program Android, it doesn't actually use a JVM to run the code. Instead, Android uses it's own VM called dalvik that uses a different byte code than the JVM. Java class files are converted to Dalvik bytecode on the desktop.

        Maybe the Dalvik VM would be an easier port.
  • I, for one, would be delighted if I could figure out a way to put Android on them.

    It's an excelent phone and it's perfect for that emergency SSH when your laptop batteries are dead, but the PDA side sucks incredibly.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll invite himself over for dinner. - Calvin Keegan

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