Google proclaims official Android RISC-V support

Google has officially announced that Android will support the RISC-V instruction set architecture. The announcement comes from the RISC-V summit held last month.

For those unfamiliar, RISC-V is the Reduced Instruction Set Computer V architecture. It is an open, free-to-use standard with no licenses or royalties. It’s basically a competitor to the ARM and x86 architectures that companies can build chipsets on. Especially companies looking to build lower cost processors or reduce their reliance on ARM designs, Intel or AMD.

Currently, a very limited version of Android is available for download for RISC-V, but Android Runtime (ART) for Java workloads is not supported. The majority of Android apps are shipped with Java code. This means that very few apps currently support RISC-V on Android. However, according to Google, official support for the emulator will begin soon, while ART support will be available in Q1.

Once ART support rolls out, Java will be more or less converted for RISC-V, so most Android apps should work without extra effort on the part of developers.

Android engineering director Lars Bergstrom said on stage at the RISC-V summit that he hopes Android will be considered a “Tier 1 platform.”

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