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First Patches from Alibaba Cloud Enable Android Open Source Project on RISC-V | Han Mao and David Chen, Alibaba Cloud

The Android Open Source Project (AOSP), an initiative by Google to guide development of the Android platform, has approved and merged patches from Alibaba Cloud. The patches enable basic AOSP on RISC-V. These are the first batch of patches being merged into AOSP with the aim of compiling AOSP on RISC-V ISA, a milestone that signals Google’s expansion of the set of platforms that AOSP can target. While this is a small step for Android, it is a giant leap for the RISC-V community. 

So far, Alibaba Cloud has submitted a total of 76 patches for modules covering bionic C,system, framework, toolchain and third-party external modules to AOSP, and 30 of them related to modules of system and bionic C have been merged into AOSP. The company is scheduled to submit additional patches on modules such as ART, kernel and emulator in the coming few months.

This breakthrough is further evidence of Alibaba Cloud’s recent efforts to advance its work to port Android to the RISC-V architecture, with the goal of validating the feasibility of using RISC-V based devices in a wide-range of scenarios. These span from multimedia to signal processing, device interconnection and artificial intelligence.

“Android is now accepting patches from RISC-V, and that’s in part due to the great work that Alibaba did in getting the port done in the first place. This is a step on our journey toward getting Android compliant on RISC-V,” said Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International. “We will continue to work with the Android community on mobile, datacenter, and other devices. The demand for architecture choice and design flexibility is spurring the adoption of RISC-V. This is evidenced by the rapid growth of the global mainstream software ecosystem porting to RISC-V.”  

Over the past years, Alibaba Cloud has been committed to supporting the RISC-V community through a series of innovations. Last year, it successfully ported basic functions, such as chrome browsing in Android 10. Since the initial porting trial, further effort has been invested to rebase previous engineering on Android 12 to enable third-party vendor modules to facilitate new functions. These include audio and video playback, WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as camera operation. Alibaba Cloud has also enabled more system enhancement features, such as core tool sets, third-party libraries and SoC board support package on RISC-V, as well as trialing the TensorFlow Lite models on RISC-V, which supports AI functions like image and audio classification and Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a development that helps to accelerate the incorporation of RISC-V into smart devices.

In addition, Alibaba Cloud has been leading the Android SIG at RISC-V International to improve the functionality, efficiency and robustness of supporting the Android software stack on RISC-V. It works proactively with the Google and Android community to coordinate upstream and maintenance affairs, and arranges and coordinates the efforts of developers from different entities willing to contribute to the implementation of AOSP on RISC-V.

Alibaba Cloud looks forward to further contributing to the RISC-V community and Android SIG with its frontier technology and comprehensive resources, while encouraging more innovation in the community together with global developers. 

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