Why a Raspberry Pi for Android Would be so Exciting

By Gary Cutlack on at

Google's only gone and strongly inferred through actions that it's preparing an official fork of Android exclusively for the Raspberry Pi, bringing two of the tech enthusiast's favourite things together in an explosion of poorly-aimed solder and loose cabling.

Android on the Raspberry Pi 3 is what appears to be on the way thanks to Google assembling an AOSP build repository for its mobile OS, news that's been almost entirely welcomed by the sort of people who enjoy making things then deliberately breaking them so they've got something to fix and therefore something to do while all the other idiots watch Britain's Got Talent.

Here's how Android Pi might change the world, a bit:

More Accessible
Everyone knows Android, especially the children currently being taught the basics of coding by bewildered primary school teachers. Seeing the results of their work out of the abstract world of the Pi and within the familiar Android interface would surely make any coding exercise much more welcoming.

An obvious option. Suddenly the Pi 3 would have access to Google's vast collection of Android apps. The downside would be that it might turn the Pi into a poor person's version of any old boring Android set-top box or dongle, but still. It could also be a games machine if combined with a controller -- as long as Android can be convinced to run nicely on the machine's 1GB of RAM.

Community Support
The Pi's been such a storming success among enthusiast coders that there will always be somebody somewhere who's fixed the same problem you've got. Combine this with the Android user base and you'll have one of the largest collections of like-minded people ever assembled. There will be no home automation task too minor to have not already been done by someone else.

Android TV
Google's had a couple of goes at making this a popular thing, without much luck. If the launcher's stuck on a Pi and officially supported, however, that would be a very exciting development indeed.

Internet of Things
Obviously the  Internet of Things has turned into a bit of a joke built on automated toasters with browning levels you can adjust from the office, but still. With news of Google's Brillo IoT platform going a bit quiet, perhaps Android and the Pi may be a more natural development when it comes to convincing people to network-up their business, seeing as people are already moving the Pi in that direction themselves. [Ars]

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