Google announces official Android RISC-V support

Google has officially announced support for RISC-V architecture, an alternative ISA with no license fees.

Android, an operating system developed by Google, currently supports several different Instruction Set Architectures (ISA), including Arm and x86. Most devices using Android, including smartphones, tablets, TVs and smartwatches, use Arm-based chipsets. Intel stopped producing CPUs for phones and MIPS support was removed in NDK revision 17. R.educated Meorder S.and others C.Computer V, RISC-V, a free and open ISA. Anyone is free to design chips based on this chip without paying any licensing or usage fees. Google announced official support for the chip during its keynote at the RISC-V Summit.

RISC-V is special because it is a free and open ISA. Vendors wanting to build inexpensive IoT products will be interested in using RISC-V to develop low-cost chips. At the same time, companies that want to reduce their reliance on competitors and foreign companies will seriously consider it. Interestingly, Google has already used his RISC-V architecture for the Titan M2 security chip in the Google Pixel series, and Intel is now offering production of his RISC-V chipset for commercial customers. .

During the company’s keynote, Android engineering director Lars Bergstrom said he hopes RISC-V will be considered Android’s “Tier 1 platform.” This is on par with what Arm is doing for Android now, and is a pretty bold step in the face of Google’s complete indifference before. The Android team ArstecnicaWhen asking the team if RISC-V support is planned for Google I/O 2022, Ron Amadeo at Google seemed to suggest that RISC-V isn’t coming any time soon. To Amadeo’s question about future RISC-V support, he replied, “We’re looking at it, and it’s going to be a big change for us.”

Growing from risc-v-prototype

According to Bergstrom, you can download a very limited version of Android for RISC-V and try it now, but it doesn’t support the Android Runtime (ART) for Java workloads. He said he expects ART to be available in the first quarter of 2023 and expects official emulator support to come soon. He shared the slide above. Commit to architecture.

The biggest advantage of all of this is that developers don’t have to do much to run their apps on RISC-V devices. ART basically “translates” the bytecode into the native instructions of the device it’s running on, so it translates to RISC-V instead of Arm. Native code is a different story, but most Android apps consist of Java code.

There are several reasons why companies may consider moving away from Arm. First of all, the company is incredibly volatile. Its owner, SoftBank, tried to sell the company to his Nvidia, but failed. Similarly, Arm became a pawn in trade sanctions imposed on companies like Huawei, where they were forced to cut contact for months. is suing Qualcomm, and it doesn’t look good suing one of his biggest customers.

RISC-V is seen as an escape from Western dependence, in large part due to the establishment of RISC-V International in Switzerland. Its ability to act as a neutral party to both the US and China makes it an attractive option for companies looking to design chipsets. Alibaba is one of his biggest supporters of RISC-V, and the company’s engineers ported Android 10 to his RISC-V board two years ago.

We’ll see how RISC-V shapes in the coming months. It may be a while before a working flagship device with a RISC-V chipset hits the market, but Google is definitely opening the door for companies to try it out.

Source: Google

Via: Ars Technica

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