Android Open Source Project ports to RISC-V

Android Open Source Project ports to RISC-V

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) has been ported to the RISC-V processor architecture in a key move for the technology.

Upstream enablement of RISC-V has started within AOSP which will help to drive the adoption of chips using RISC-V for the Internet of Things, wearables and eventually smartphones and laptops.

Engineers and software developers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ PLCT Lab began to port Android 10 to the RISC-V architecture in 2020 in an effort to open up the ecosystem. Alibaba’s Cloud division and T-Head chip subsidiary have been close collaborators in the work to keep the development current with newer Android versions.

“We are glad to see more support from Google for building AOSP targeting RISC-V! Alibaba Cloud has been committed to supporting the RISC-V community through a series of innovations, such as progressing the porting of basic Android functions onto RISC-V, which proves the feasibility of using RISC-V based devices in scenarios ranging from multimedia to signal processing, device interconnection, and artificial intelligence. We look forward to engaging with the Android team to contribute to the thriving RISC-V community down the road,” said Dr. David Chen, Director of Ecosystem from Alibaba Cloud and Vice Chair of the Applications & Tools Horizontal Committee at RISC-V International.

“RISC-V has grown in popularity through the sheer demand for flexibility and choice across the full spectrum of computing, from the smallest embedded devices to the largest scale out cloud implementations,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International. “This demand has made RISC-V inevitable as the most prolific open standard ISA of our time, accelerating innovation and adoption with the strongest ecosystem of global stakeholders.” 

Throughout 2021, engineers at Alibaba Cloud undertook a massive effort to directly support the software ecosystem by further expanding the core functionality of Android on RISC-V.

“Adoption of RISC-V relies on the breadth and quality of the available software solutions. By bringing Android to RISC-V, we extend RISC-V to support a wide range of consumer-centric use cases ranging from mobile to in-car entertainment,” said Dr Philipp Tomsich, Chief Technologist at VRULL and Chair of the Applications & Tools Horizontal Committee at RISC-V International. “We also can’t understate the importance that Android has gained as a platform for consumer and professional device development, ranging from control panels in home automation to video conferencing hardware. We are grateful to Alibaba Cloud for their ongoing efforts in making RISC-V a first-class platform for Android and I am very excited at seeing these contributions being adopted upstream by AOSP.”

The efforts on RISC-V on Android are at the RISC-V Android Working Group and the software repository

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