GloDroid is the name of new vanilla AOSP project that’s targeting low-cost AllWinner-based single board computers and devices like the PinePhone and the PineTab, as well as the Raspberry Pi 4.
Unlike older versions of Android made available for these devices GloDroid wants to ship an up-to-date version of Android that relies mainline Android, uses open source drivers, and stays maintained.
As reported by CNX Software, GloDroid “leverag[es] AOSP to bring Android 10 to various Allwinner based boards and platforms, as well as Raspberry Pi 4B”.
The list of hardware support is fairly broad, and includes the 64-bit AllWinner A64 chip that sits at the heart of the PinePhone and the (recently sold out) PineTab.
GloDroid lists its aims as (all sic):
- Open and free as much as it’s possible;
- Up-to-date version of Android;
- Close to mainline Android as much as it’s possible;
- Provided with necessary libraries and software so user/customer could have up and running latest Android OS with no efforts;
Noble aims — but don’t get too excited just yet. The project is still early on in its development.
A crop of pre-release but prebuilt images are available for Orange Pi Prime, Plus 2 and the PinePhone. These are based on Android 10.0.0 rev 39.
You can find instructions on how to build GloDroid from scratch over on GitHub.
One real compelling feature of the PinePhone is that it is multi-boot capable. You can run a variety of different OSes using the bootable microSD card slot. You’re not stuck with one.
So having Android available is important. Similar to how many users’ first foray into desktop Linux is with the backup of a Windows dual-boot, so might Android reassure those looking to take formative steps in exploring what mobile Linux has to offer.
So I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this project!