Posted 22/Oct 2012 at 23:38
by in Science & Tech read by 149 people

Raspberry PI - Part 2 - Enter Android 2.3

It's already a while ago that I got my second Raspberry Pi and haven't really been doing anything with either one of them for a while. But, partially sparked by the entry of Netflix on the Danish market, I picked up where I left off to see if anything drastically has changed.

If you've read my previous post on the topic you might know that I didn't by the boards to learn to program. That I already know how to. I want to use them as cheap and simple media centres. Since last time, Raspbmc has released two new RC's - with nothing really mindbogglingly new, though it all feels a it more stable. Especially the YouTube plugin.

What I wanted to achieve today was to watch Netflix content on my TV. And knowing that they have a very decent Android app I figured that I'd just install Android on my Pi. And so I did.

On the Android Pi Wiki I found that the recommended release is CyanogenMOD 7.2, an Android 2.3 image. So I grabbed it, dd'd the image onto an SD card, hooked everything up. And after a few minutes of waiting time my TV was telling me slide my finger over the screen. I decided that that probably won't work, so I took an USB mouse instead. 

It didn't take a long time before I realized what they meant with "very slow, barely usable". The mouse interaction for example tends to lag a second or more behind on the movement. But as far as the interface is concerned, anything you can do with a keyboard responds quite fine.

But I wasn't able to use it for much.

The problems

For starters, the network didn't work out of the box. I had to setup a static IP address. But then I could also use the webbrowser without all too many problems. Well, apart from that scrolling seemed to work from link to link making it quite a hassle to read some text. 

The time didn't sync by itself, perhaps because it couldn't read the time off the cellular network. Or perhaps of something else, that's very hard to tell.

With some random clicking I found out that the right mouse button functions on most screens as a back button, the middle one as the "menu" and the back button on the side of my mouse as a home. But whatever I tried, I couldn't get it to come up with the "Power menu" to force a restart or take a proper screenshot. 

And then there was Google Apps. Or more, there wasn't. Not standard, that is. But, smart as I thought I was, I could just download the latest Google Apps release from CyanogenMod's Google Apps page. But since the Pi has no power button, and I couldn't get to the Power menu the only way to install appeared to be to just extract the files on my SD card. 

That sorta worked. I now had the option to add a Google account. But it didn't work, because for some reason it refused to connect to the internet. In the apps drawer, I did find Google Talk being added - but that was about it. No YouTube yet, no Google Play.

Anyway, that's how far I got. I'm gonna see what else I might be able to try.

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