Android Derivatives

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This page has information about systems that are derived from Android.

Why non-Google Android


This project aims to utilizes the Android system in other product categories, including deeply embedded:

Headless Android


As an FYI, I thought some of you might be interested in knowing that Android's user-space can be modified to run on headless systems (i.e. without a framebuffer.) IOW, you can configure the FB stuff completely out or have a kernel port that doesn't have an FB (yet?) and still run the Android use-space.

I've put this up as part of the Cyborgstack project:

$ repo init -u git:// -b headless
$ repo sync
$ ...

The relevant presentation from the Android Builders Summit is here: cyborgstack-120213.pdf

Essentially, Headless Android is the AOSP but WITHOUT:

  • SurfaceFlinger
  • WindowManager
  • WallpaperService
  • InputMethodManager

It gives you is all the Android framework but for ui-less systems (no FB.) What it means, is that, save for Activities, you can use the standard Android development tools (Eclipse, SDK/NDK, etc.) to create apps that use:

  • ContentProviders
  • Services
  • BroadcastReceivers

Why would you want this instead of using "Embedded Linux"? Honestly I was very skeptical when some developers first mentioned to me that they were interested in doing this. I was in fact very dismissive of it. But I kept getting more and more inquiries about this. So I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.

Now that I have, I think there are 2 clear benefits to using this instead of "embedded Linux": 1) you get one platform for all your device development, whether it has a UI or not 2) your devices become programmable by any developer that knows the Android API (and, as you may know, there's growing number of those.)

That said, what I've done is very much a proof of concept. It's in fact a dirty hack at this point. Please don't ship this just yet. It needs a lot more eyeballs and certainly a lot more work. But, it's good enough to give you a taste of what's possible and allow you play with it.


-- Karim Yaghmour