back to article Alibaba Cloud gets more of Android working on RISC-V silicon

Alibaba Cloud has advanced its work to port Android to the RISC-V architecture. The Chinese cloud giant has spent more than a year working on a port of the Google-spawned OS and in January 2021 showed off a GUI powered by Android 10 running on silicon designed by T-Head Semiconductor – an Alibaba subsidiary that designs its …

  1. chuckufarley

    Maybe I am short sighted...

    ...But I think it's far from a panacea to the problems China faces in over coming it's wafer production problem or the problems we "western" nations have with our landfill economies.

    Why not design an OS that can run on multiple generations of ARM tech and then buy devices by the tonne from the west?

    1. thejoelr

      Re: Maybe I am short sighted...

      Alicloud is doing a limited test for users of their ARM platform right now. They are exploring multiple architectures. And, as others mentioned.. China is in the process of enforcing rules that move them towards requiring tech developed in China. I don't see a problem with them exploring new architectures.

      If you want to talk landfill economy, I just saw an article here about Fedora dropping support for non EUFI systems.

  2. 3arn0wl Bronze badge

    Open source hardware (and consequently software) will be the future

    Chinese resolve to go US-IP free seems pretty determined. There're already some RISC-V products to market - notably a health band, but dev boards too. There's promise of a RISC-V laptop this year, and a smartphone either by Q4 or early into next year - even if these devices are just for developers' use... the transition is tangible. There's hefty work going on re-basing open source apps to RISC-V too. Vital, obviously.

    China is 20% of the world's electronics market. It's also a huge producer and exporter of consumer tech - the move to RISC-V will have enormous impact on the tech industry, everywhere.

    1. Bruce Hoult

      Re: Open source hardware (and consequently software) will be the future

      There is already a laptop of sorts:

      If you already have the ARM version (or any Pi CM3 compatible board) then you can buy just the RISC-V compute module from the same site for $29:

      Note that this is roughly Pi Zero equivalent.

      The board that runs Android (that Android is being developed on) is available here:

      The C910 cores are roughly Pi 4 speed, though it's got fewer cores than a Pi 4.

  3. Bruce Hoult

    >The Xuantie C906 uses Alibaba-designed cores

    That's very confused.

    Firstly, the Xuantie C906 *is* a core. The AllWinner D1 (external DRAM) and D1s (DRAM in the package) also sometimes called "Nezha" are chips or SoCs that use the C906 core.

    The Sipeed "Lichee RV", the AWOL "D1 EVB" (which many called "Nezha" until we learned that refers to the Soc), the MangoPi "Nezha MQ" and "MQ Pro", the ClockworkPi "Core R-01" (a $29 Pi CM3 compatible board designed for the DevTerm laptop) are variously boards with versions of the D1 chip on them.

    Similarly the Xuantie C910 is a (much higher performance) core from Alibaba T-Head, roughly comparable to the A72 in the Pi 4. The C910 is available in the "ICE" SoC, used on the "ICE EVB" (Evaluation Board), which is what the RISC-V Android port has been shown on. I have one, incidentally.

    > that are – as required for RISC-V users – available on GitHub.

    Incorrect. There is no requirement for RISC-V cores to be put on Github. There are a number of companies with commercially-developed RISC-V cores for which the source code is not available. Alibaba put the C906 and C910 on github entirely voluntarily.

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