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Android has been ported to a RISC-V board

January 21, 2021
Google’s Android operating system currently supports a handful of instruction set architecture (ISA) families, including ARM and x86. The vast majority of smartphones, tablets, TVs, and smartwatches that run Android today feature ARM-based chipset designs, as Intel has long since abandoned its handset CPUs while support for MIPS was dropped with NDK revision 17. While Google does not officially provide support for compiling Android on hardware based on the open RISC-V ISA, several development teams are working to run AOSP on RISC-V hardware. One such effort is led by T-Head, the business entity of Alibaba specializing in semiconductors, which today announced that they’ve successfully ported Android 10 onto its in-house RISC-V hardware.

A few months ago, PLCT Lab successfully booted Android to a command-line interface on a 64-bit RISC-V core emulated in QEMU. The team launched a project on GitHub they’re calling “AOSP for RISC-V” and are still in the early stages of cross-compiling AOSP and booting to a GUI. Meanwhile, T-Head, which designed the ICE SoC with its in-house, RISC-V-based XuanTie C910 cores, has managed to boot Android 10 with working graphics and touch.

The ICE chip from T-Head with 3 XuanTie C910 (RISC-V 64) CPU cores.

It runs quite slowly, as you can see in the video embedded below, but this is to be expected given the status of this port and the hardware it’s running on. In the video, a couple of stock AOSP applications are launched, including the clock app, the contacts app, and the mail app. More complex applications such as games aren’t shown off on this prototype as these apps would likely need to be recompiled to target RISC-V.


This Android 10 port is based on the android10-release branch in AOSP, and the source code developed by T-Head can be found on the company’s GitHub page.

This is an exciting development for the open hardware community. Since RISC-V is a free and open ISA, anyone is free to design chips based on it without paying any licensing or royalty fees. That doesn’t prevent companies from extending RISC-V with custom instruction set extensions — after all, RISC-V has a permissive license — but it does significantly lower the barrier to entry for new companies seeking to design their own chips. Vendors that want to make cheap IoT products will be interested in using RISC-V to develop low-cost chips, while companies seeking to reduce their dependence on competitors or foreign entities will also express interest. With NVIDIA acquiring ARM and the U.S. government forcing ARM to cut ties with Huawei, we’ll undoubtedly see more and more interest in RISC-V from tech firms around the world. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to actually tell just how much traction RISC-V is gaining since there’s no requirement for vendors to disclose its usage.

Replies: >>988
Too bad android is garbage.
>>986 (OP) 
Very interesting. How powerful would the most powerful RISC-V chips currently available be?
Replies: >>990
explain to my why I should care abou this
also is it just me or is the email field gone?
Replies: >>993
Alibaba’s chipmaker launches open source RISC-V based ‘XuanTie 910 processor’ for 5G, AI, IoT and self-driving applications

July 26, 2019 

Launched in 2018, Alibaba’s chip subsidiary, Pingtouge made a major announcement yesterday. Pingtouge is launching its first product – chip processor XuanTie 910 using the open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture.

The XuanTie 910 processor is expected to reduce the costs of related chip production by more than 50%, reports Caixin Global. XuanTie 910, also known as T-Head, will soon be available in the market for commercial use. Pingtouge will also be releasing some of XuanTie 910’s codes on Github for free to help the global developer community to create innovative applications. No release dates have been revealed yet.

Replies: >>1000
RISC-V based Allwinner chip to debut on $13 Linux hacker board
Nov 9, 2020
Alibaba’s T-head subsidiary and Allwinner have produced a single-core, RISC-V-based XuanTie C906 processor with MMU that will appear on a sandwich-style, Linux-driven, $12.50 Sipeed SBC due in two months.

In July, 2019, Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group surprised the industry with the most powerful RISC-V architecture SoC design to date: a 16-core, 2.5GHz XuanTie 910 (XT 910). Now Alibaba’s RISC-V-focused T-Head subsidiary is collaborating with Allwinner to introduce a single-core, 1GHz XuanTie C906 (RV64GCV) RISC-V processor designed to run Debian Linux. A Sipeed dev kit will arrive in the coming months for $12.50 that incorporates an Allwinner compute module built around the XuanTie C906.

The news came in a tweet from Sipeed, which earlier this year released a $24.90 Sipeed MaixCube dev kit featuring a Kendryte K210 RISC-V with 1TOPS NPU. Although the Kendryte K210 nominally supports Linux, it lacks a Memory Management Unit (Unit), making it a much better fit for FreeRTOS. The XuanTie C906 does include an MMU, however, and is designed to run Linux. Like other RISC-V processors to date, it lacks a 3D GPU.

XuanTie C906 block diagram and specs (left) and render of Allwinner module based on it
Source: T-Head (left) and CNXSoft/Allwinner

Replies: >>1140
So, this basically means an infestation of more botnet into an otherwise relatively botnet-free platform? Why would anyone consider this to be a good thing, OP?
You shouldn't, RISC-V is a crippled meme architecture that will have bigger hardware incompatibilities than ARM. But it's open branded, so the freetards gobble it up.
RISC-V is open source so you can use it like Linux or BSD.
Replies: >>1000
Chinese company Alibaba made its own processors from RISC-V.
Wow, that's nice. The last time I was looking into it, RISC-V chips existed mostly on paper and the ones that existed weren't high powered at all. I honestly wasn't sure if it would gain any traction.
That wasn't even that long ago.
Replies: >>1149
Will my next laptop and smartphone be able to use RISC-V?
Now Arm on the verge to become Chinese company so we should start using RISC-V.
Replies: >>1216
Actually it's Nvidia, and that's actually far worse for everyone.

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