spinjector
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What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:17 pm

Hello, I'm fascinated with the idea of building a cell phone. I see others have done it (PiPhone, ZeroPhone, TyTelli), and one can even buy pre-made kits for them. But of course for snits and giggles I want to do it myself.

But here's the stumbling point: I wish it to be a full Android device. From what I've seen, there are issues with Android on Raspberry Pi. There are well-documented ways to do it, and I'm happy with that as an experiment. However, I'd like it to be highly compatible with Android, the Google Play Store, and the zillion apps on there. And this means one of the big guys like a SnapDragon. But my skills & resources aren't up to that.

And so, my question...

What other systems are there besides Raspberry Pi that are purpose-designed to be customized into a new device...??? With the schematics and Hardware Design Guide for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, one can easily design a custom board and load the OS into it.

But are there other Pi-type systems with faster CPUs and more resources, and with the same simple hardware layout, but which seem to be more compatible with Android..?

fruitoftheloom
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:25 pm

spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:17 pm
Hello, I'm fascinated with the idea of building a cell phone. I see others have done it (PiPhone, ZeroPhone, TyTelli), and one can even buy pre-made kits for them. But of course for snits and giggles I want to do it myself.

But here's the stumbling point: I wish it to be a full Android device. From what I've seen, there are issues with Android on Raspberry Pi. There are well-documented ways to do it, and I'm happy with that as an experiment. However, I'd like it to be highly compatible with Android, the Google Play Store, and the zillion apps on there. And this means one of the big guys like a SnapDragon. But my skills & resources aren't up to that.

And so, my question...

What other systems are there besides Raspberry Pi that are purpose-designed to be customized into a new device...??? With the schematics and Hardware Design Guide for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, one can easily design a custom board and load the OS into it.

But are there other Pi-type systems with faster CPUs and more resources, and with the same simple hardware layout, but which seem to be more compatible with Android..?

The Raspberry Pi SBC or Compute Module are a dead end for a fully working and officially supported Google Android Operating System.

This is not a place to discuss competitors products, plenty of other forums out there on the World Wide Web.....
Retired disgracefully.....
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ShiftPlusOne
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:42 pm

The cheapest off the shelf android phone will run android and be cheaper than any SBC + required peripherals. The pi is more for learning and productivity.

spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:48 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:42 pm
The cheapest off the shelf android phone will run android and be cheaper than any SBC + required peripherals. The pi is more for learning and productivity.
Of course, but what does one learn by simply using an off-the-shelf product..? I'm not looking to build something to go commercial; it's just a hobby, and hobbies can be expensive.

spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:51 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:25 pm
The Raspberry Pi SBC or Compute Module are a dead end for a fully working and officially supported Google Android Operating System.

This is not a place to discuss competitors products, plenty of other forums out there on the World Wide Web.....
Sorry to have offended. But generally when someone says a product won't work for an application, they're usually open to discuss alternatives, and thus...my post.

PiGraham
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:55 pm

Try searching for "system on module android"

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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:55 pm

Just pick any of the competitors that have an Android port; Orange Pi, Banana Pi etc. I suspect though, that you may find their technical support a little less comprehensive. You need a phone dongle of some description, and making everything fit in a case with batteries and a screen will be challenging.
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rpdom
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:57 pm

spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:48 pm
Of course, but what does one learn by simply using an off-the-shelf product..? I'm not looking to build something to go commercial; it's just a hobby, and hobbies can be expensive.
Actually quite a lot. I learnt a lot when I wanted to develop a simple app for my android phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) that could read and write RFID/NFC tags with specific data.

Admittedly I didn't do it on a Pi at the time, but all the software I used is now available in Raspbian.

I didn't know any Java or anything about Android. It took a while to learn the tools and how to use them and which were a waste of time, but I did it and the app worked.

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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:01 pm

spinjector wrote: Of course, but what does one learn by simply using an off-the-shelf product..? I'm not looking to build something to go commercial; it's just a hobby, and hobbies can be expensive.
I can understand that, but not where the Android requirement comes in. If you wanted the learning component of it, you could take one of the existing Raspberry Pi Android projects and work on making that better.

What usually happens is that people tape together bits and pieces to the point where it runs and then leave it at that. So your best bet is to find something that shares hardware with mobile phones - like one of the Exynos chips. I won't mention any SBC by name, but that should be plenty to go on. Can't guarantee that it will have full Google Store and DRM support.

spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:49 pm

spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:48 pm
Of course, but what does one learn by simply using an off-the-shelf product..? I'm not looking to build something to go commercial; it's just a hobby, and hobbies can be expensive.
rpdom wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:57 pm
Actually quite a lot. I learnt a lot when I wanted to develop a simple app for my android phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) that could read and write RFID/NFC tags with specific data.

Admittedly I didn't do it on a Pi at the time, but all the software I used is now available in Raspbian.

I didn't know any Java or anything about Android. It took a while to learn the tools and how to use them and which were a waste of time, but I did it and the app worked.
Well....yes. I suppose you're right. I was kind of thinking of other things when I replied, but your points are perfectly valid too. =-) What I was thinking tho, is the custom board I had in mind, with the USB hub chip, ethernet switch chip, cellular chip, and a few other goodies that aren't standard RPi bits & pieces.

spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:51 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:55 pm
Try searching for "system on module android"
See THAT right there is a piece of terminology that I didn't know I needed. Just the first few Google hits for that look like great reading. Thanks..!!

fruitoftheloom
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:52 pm

spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:51 pm
fruitoftheloom wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:25 pm
The Raspberry Pi SBC or Compute Module are a dead end for a fully working and officially supported Google Android Operating System.

This is not a place to discuss competitors products, plenty of other forums out there on the World Wide Web.....
Sorry to have offended. But generally when someone says a product won't work for an application, they're usually open to discuss alternatives, and thus...my post.

https://www.techradar.com/news/project- ... y-pi-phone

https://shop.sb-components.co.uk/produc ... ne-lcd-kit
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spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:57 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:55 pm
Just pick any of the competitors that have an Android port; Orange Pi, Banana Pi etc. I suspect though, that you may find their technical support a little less comprehensive. You need a phone dongle of some description, and making everything fit in a case with batteries and a screen will be challenging.
No dongles, not with a custom board. I'll be using a chip like the SIM900 or one of the Verizon-approved chips. Trying to figure out the USA cell bands (especially for Verizon) was a nightmare until I discovered that Vzw Dev page. As for the case & batteries, I have ideas. I don't mind if it ends up the size of a walkie talkie. :mrgreen:

spinjector
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:04 pm

ShiftPlusOne wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:01 pm
What usually happens is that people tape together bits and pieces to the point where it runs and then leave it at that. So your best bet is to find something that shares hardware with mobile phones - like one of the Exynos chips. I won't mention any SBC by name, but that should be plenty to go on. Can't guarantee that it will have full Google Store and DRM support.
Well, looking around my shop, I can't guarantee it will go past the tape & rubber band phase. As for "Exynos", thanks again, that's another piece of terminology to search for. Regarding DRM, I saw a post somewhere about that. Somebody hacked Android onto a Pi and swapped something with something else and got the DRM to work.....or something like that. I'll have to dig up the link again. It should be here somewhere with the tape & rubber bands. =-)

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Imperf3kt
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:41 am

If you really want Android support, ASUS make an SBC that has an official release of Android 6.01
There is also an unofficial release of 6.01 with Google Play support.


It works, but ASUS's SBC range... Lack any sort of support or documentation and where there is documentation, in my experience, it is incorrect.

Personally, I'd stick with a Pi and try to improve the options already available as suggested.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:01 am

Any phone type hats?
GSM or LTE or ?????
You could make a retro Motorola brick phone.
Or use BLE for a Dick Tracy watch style mic/speaker to a Pi/Hat in a backpack.
Even an old wooden wall mount rotary style phone, with handheld speaker on a cable.

Too hard to make a Pi phone the size of modern one, go retro.
You could probably even make money selling them, kits or assembled.
A nice wooden box can hide lots of sloppy wiring.
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HawaiianPi
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:06 am

Technically there is no such thing as Android on the Pi, as "Android" is a licensed name for use only on approved devices. So even if you build a working OS from AOSP (the Android Open-Source Project) you cannot legally call it Android without Google licensing and approving it (you also can't access the Google play store and many other Google services).

So what you want to do is not possible as a "hobby" project with a Pi or any other platform (not legally, anyway, and we can't talk about illegal things here).
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:49 am

This is the core of the request and the big reason it's not for RPi:
spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:17 pm
But of course for snits and giggles I want to do it myself.

But here's the stumbling point: I wish it to be a full Android device. ... compatible with Android, the Google Play Store, and the zillion apps on there.
If you want full Android that means DRM, touch-screen, sensors and fully supported latest Android OS.
And that isn't practical / available / legal.

Get an Android device for the zillion apps and phone calls etc. and do something else with the Pi.

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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:29 am

spinjector wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:17 pm
for snits and giggles I want to do it myself.

I'd like it to be highly compatible with Android, the Google Play Store, and the zillion apps on there. And this means one of the big guys like a SnapDragon. But my skills & resources aren't up to that.
You have set your heart on something which isn't really achievable so you need to decide what your Plan B is.

You need to decide on what you "need", what you merely "want", and what you would "like" as an end result, find something which can deliver that, find a compromise which fits with what's available and achievable, or give it up as not viable and look towards some other venture.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: What else is there besides Raspberry Pi..?

Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:12 am

Last Android 8 phone cost me $35, works fine and reports everything I do on it to ???
Don't use a sim card, so it's just a small tablet, great for watching The Expanse or reading OpenGL manuals in bed etc.
It just works and is very convenient.

The Pi's on the other hand make usable desktops and are great to learning coding on.
It does seem most Android SDKs run on x86.
Is there an Arm8 Android SDK?
Coding Android stuff on a Pi4 running an aarch64 OS would be a step towards getting Android porting?
Or at least writing apps for Android which I can then run on $35 devices.
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