Some time ago, we had a look at the Udoo Neo (see http://www.makerspace-uk.co.uk/udoo-neo/). At the time, the only operating system available for the Neo was the Udoo version of Ubuntu (called UDOObuntu). However, since then, the makers of the Udoo Neo have released a build of Android Marshmallow. Although this is still a Beta release, it still has a fair amount of functionality.
The first step in trying out Android on the Udoo Neo is to download the required image from the Udoo web site:-
Having downloaded the image, it needs to be written to a micro SD card. We used an 8GB card for this. If you’re unsure about how this is done, there is a video to explain the process at the Udoo web site:-
Having written the Android image to your SD card, it’s simply a matter of connecting the Neo board to your monitor, keyboard and mouse, putting the micro SD card into the card slot on the underside of the Neo, and powering it up.
During boot, you get the familiar Android boot animation, followed by a fairly empty home screen. However, once booted, Android runs in the way you would expect, except that you will be using a mouse to tap the icons instead of a finger.
The current Android build for the Udoo Neo includes many of the standard Android Apps, such as Clock, Calendar, Email, Browser, Calculator, Contacts, Gallery and Settings. Additionally, there is also a File Manager App and a Terminal App.
From the terminal App it is possible to access the Linux shell, and to execute Linux shell commands. This allows a degree of control over some of the on board devices such as the GPIO, Magnetometer, etc. So, for example, to read data from the on board magnetometer, the following commands will enable the magnetometer and allow you to read the data from it:-
echo 1 > /sys/class/misc/FreescaleMagnetometer/enable cat /sys/class/misc/FreescaleMagnetometer/data
Similarly, using the on board GPIO, the following set of commands will allow you to control an LED connected to one of the GPIO pins (in this case GPIO 102):-
su root echo 102 > /sys/class/gpio/export echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio102/direction echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio102/value echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio102/value
In theory it should be possible to create Linux shell scripts to execute a sequence of shell script commands. However, when we tried to use the nano editor to create a shell script, we could not get the control key to work in order to write to the file (^O) or to exit the editor (^X). If anyone has any suggestions regarding this, we’d love to hear from you.
Overall, we’re really impressed with the fact that Android will run on this board, and are keen to see how this development unfolds in the future.