Android Ice Cream Sandwich on a Pandaboard

I got myself a Pandaboard a few weeks ago. It’s a community-supported fan-less board sponsored by Texas Instruments. It sports their OMAP 4430 chip, which is the same CPU as found in the Kindle Fire, Motorola Droid RAZR and a bunch of other smartphones (the Galaxy Nexus has its successor, the 4460).

So, when I first got it, I installed Ubuntu Linux (Linaro) on it. Used it very little, and sort of figured out the basics, such as installing an Apache webserver, but finally noticing that it lacked support for things I wanted to try out, such as Google Video Chat (which is not yet available for an ARM architecture, the one commonly found in most smartphones today).

So, I instead followed instructions on a YouTube video from the Pandaboard website that said you could install Android 4.0. And turns out you could, by following the instructions (you can find clearer instructions on the Web). So, now I have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the board… Next step is to figure out how to get (or just wait for) the Google Apps (Gmail, Gtalk, etc.), and support for basic hardware such as video and audio capture.

In terms of media and journalism, there is perhaps some potential to create new ways to interact with information, by plugging a projector and some sensors to detect human input. In computing power, the Pandaboard is probably as powerful as a top of the line smartphone, yet at a much lower price of US$178 (but then, so flashy touchscreen). The form factor is interesting for embedded systems, which is something I only discovered this year.

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