I know currently this is impossible and this is going to be a rediculacly complicated and lengthy task but i wanna do it anyway and to me it would be worth it. I was hoping that somebody could at least help me brainstorm/organize a road map for a solid project

I wanna be able to go to the google play store via raspian desktop app or kodi repositories or even emulationstation/retropie ports; and download apps for typical install and use.

I have heard of people using android apks on the rpi before but i think it was mainly to develop android apps on the rpi instead of for the rpi and im not looking for any quick or temp hacks either. I think the 2 best routes to choose from would be to either create an android emulator to virtually run the android OS (wich would be plausible but not an ideal solution) or the hardcore method of recompiling kernel, lib's, etc with scripts to run the apps in some sort of translated mirror mode however i beleive i need to learn alot more of the architecture and other fundamentals before i even continue talking about this second method.

Does anybody know of any sources or similar projects to refer to in order to begin? where to start? what would be needed for such a mission. Anything really would be helpful.

yes i do have "some" programming experience with multiple languages both high and low level as well as have a basic hardware/embedded systems understanding. hopefully thats enough to at least understand the answers replied to this post.


3 Answers 3


You could use Android Things which is used to target IoT devices. And Android Studio supports IoT development through the OS. Rip 3 is a recommended device by Google for the platform.

You can grab the latest RPi image.

Unzipping the file with 7zip via terminal will help avoid install issues:

$ brew install p7zip
$ 7za x androidthings_rpi3_devpreview_1.zip

After you successfully image the memory card and boot the pi you can begin running on Android with the following:

$ adb connect Android.local
connected to Android.local:5555

This blog post shows you the full steps of how to get started with Android Things using RPi 3.



Well, first, it's not impossible. A number of people independently got Android working on the Raspberry Pi, including these guys, who got Android 7 working on the Raspberry Pi 3 and are providing images for download.

The difficulty with running Android on the Raspberry Pi is the proprietary graphics drivers. The are not available for download to the public, meaning you can only really run the official kernels that have been released, or suffer through unaccelerated graphics.

  • Thank you, yes there are multiple things like this out there but i dont want to get rid of the Raspian OS or anything already on the rpi (like retropie or kodi), But this method completely erases everything already on the card and just installs a brand new android os instead on a very limited level. Is there a way I can write my own scripts to manually accelerate the graphics? i think i used something like that to get vlc to run properly on the pi2. Again i think creating some sort of android sandbox environment to run the apps virtually is what im looking for. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:18
  • is there a way we could just mirror the drivers? Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:30
  • @Theoreticlese see my other answer
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:34
  • or install the android 7 OS into a virtual machine and run it in the background to be used as ported service in order to run the android apps. even though there would still be shortcuts on the raspian destop, once clicked a script would launch the hidden VM in order to run a virtualized android app. Although it would appear as real solution to the user i still think it would be too close to a hack job not to mention it would be extremely greedy on system hardware Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:45

Running Android (or any OS) in a "sandbox" on another OS is called "emulation" or a "virtual machine." It works, and it has it's uses and it's purposes, but always at the cost of performance, and there are always limitations to how far can the emulation go. For example, running a Windows 7 virtual machine on my Ubuntu laptop, I do not have access to whichever version of DirectX I wish, I am limited by the emulator.

As far as the proprietary graphics drivers go, it isn't as simple as running a script. Running a script happens at the OS level, drivers happen at the kernel level (deep down under the OS). Drivers are hardware and OS specific, and since the ones for the Pi are proprietary, we simply do not have access to them or their source code. Someone will have to reverse engineer the drivers, meaning we need someone who is familiar with the graphics hardware at a very technical level.

  • so at somepoint genuine programming needs to be done. im told creating even the simplest of drivers from scratch can be tricky mainly because of the risks involved. definitly going to need as many sources and references as i can get my hands on in order to dream up the confidence needed to do something like that. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:51
  • im also trying to avoid creating an entire rpi distro from scratch please tell me i dont need to do that in order accomplish this because a)thats way over my head and b) im still not sure that would solve even a single side of the proprietary problems Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:56
  • Youn would need to write a completely new driver, yes, but as far as creating an entire OS from scratch, you could just recompile your favorite Android flavour and include your driver in it.
    – tlhIngan
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 22:28

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