Google Steers Android Toward the Raspberry Pi

by Ostatic Staff - May. 26, 2016

As we've noted here before, when it comes to top open source stories of the past couple of years, it's clear that one of the biggest is the proliferation of tiny, inexpensive Linux-based computers at some of the smallest form factors ever seen. The diminutive, credit card-sized Raspberry Pi, which has been priced at only $25 and $35, has grabbed most of the headlines in this space, and recently came out in a new version.

Now, there is evidence that the Pi is about to get meaningful support for one of the most popular operating systems of all: Android. In Google's Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository, a new device tree has arrived for the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Raspberry Pi 3 has both Bluetooth and WiFi, extending its possibilities over previous generations. Pi users also already have many options for the OS they choose to run on the mini ARM computers, from Windows 10 IoT Core, to Ubuntu core and many other Linux systems. But Android could be a meaningful addition to the mix.

According to ZDNet:

"...Google has registered the newest version of the Raspberry Pi, the $35 Raspberry Pi 3, as a new device 'tree' in its Android Open Source Project repository. Its appearance was first reported by Android Police this week, but was actually added to AOSP five weeks ago.

"....the Raspberry Pi 3 move appears to be part of a wider campaign by Google to bring official Android support to a whole bunch of IoT building devices running on Intel.

In the past five months, Google has added device trees in AOSP for Intel's answer to the Raspberry Pi, the Intel Minnowboard, and the Up board, an Intel-based device from ASUS-owned Aaeon.

There are also recently added trees for the CreatorCi41 board from Chinese firm Imagination Technologies, Qualcomm's Dragonboard, and Intel's Edison board. With the exception of the Dragonboard, these all appeared in the past five months and are more fully developed than Raspberry Pi."

 That's a lot of interest that Google is showing in tiny devices.

This isn't the first interest that Google has shown in the Raspberry Pi.  The education market has always represented a natural fit for Raspberry Pi devices, and Google has given 15,000 Pi devices to U.K. schools. The news about Google's gift to schools was even picked up on the TreeHugger blog.

It will be interesting to see what new directions Android might take the Pi in. Stay tuned for more updates in this space.