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Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli, 05/03/2012 04:44 PM


Good Potential Targets

Good Targets
A good potential target for Replicant will have:

  • Unlocked bootloader or Root-capable Recovery
  • Compatibility with standard tools (adb, fastboot, heimdall)
  • GSM / UMTS network capability (CDMA2000 devices require proprietary libraries signed with a particular key in order to use the network)
  • Components (e.g., Wifi, Bluetooth, Camera, Video, Touchscreen) with freely available documentation
  • Support in CyanogenMod or other AOSP-based Android build
  • As few binary-only drivers as possible

Ideal Targets

An ideal potential target for Replicant will have:

  • All of the good potential target characteristics
  • Processor Isolation - Modem cannot spy on the memory of the Application processor
  • Components that do not require loadable firmware
  • Commonality with devices already supported in Replicant or other Free Software phone project
  • Zero binary-only drivers
  • Free-able bootloader

Devices that have been evaluated

Openmoko Neo Freerunner

Has root: YES
Sim Unlocked: YES
In production: NODetails:

We never ported Replicant 2.2 to the Neo Freerunner but there is a project to run Android on it called android-on-freerunner

People from this project reported that Android 2.2 was to slow on the Neo to be usable at all.

Other major issues are: it has an ARMv4t architecture that brings some apk compatibilities issues because lots of apk packages use native code, often compiled for higher arm versions.A solution could be to recompile each application but it’s heavy work.

Update: the new Openmoko Beagle Hybrid uses an

ARM Cortex A8 board that is based on ARMv7 architecture (the same of Nokia N900 and Palm Pre).

Nokia N900

Has root: Depends on Simlock(if no simlock is there you should be able to get root by running a command)
Sim Unlocked: Depends
In production: ?(can be bought in regularly)

We never ported Replicant to the Nokia N900. There is a project for it called Nitdroid that have nearly everthing working.

One issue is is that voice calls depend on cmt_speech pulseaudio plugin, that is free software but not included in Android.

Another big issue regards source code: the main nitdroid developer told us it was hard to build and its build was not documented.

The project also doesn’t seem very freedom friendly in the sense that their goal seem to be able to run some proprietary android software.

Apple iPhone 3G

Has root: NO
Sim Unlocked: YES (if you buy it without annual contract)
In production: ?

The idroid project ( http://www.idroidproject.org/wiki/Main_Page ) is porting android to the iphones and other apple mobile devices.

It seems that the iphone2g is the most supported phone and that they made it usable. Although because no current replicant developpers own an iphone. So no one could verify.

Most of the hardware seem standard(libertas,AT commands on modem side(with a lot of customs comands),alsa,standard accelerometers…) which is better(no driver to write from scratch)
We didn’t check other iphone version.

Windows Phones

Has root: ?
Sim Unlocked: ?
In production: Depend on the phone model

There are many windows mobile phones, like the HD2, however no one investigated it a lot and we are unsure if Android can be booted without haret(in other words haret can boot android from windows mobile, which means that you have to start windows mobile first…).

The key project for that is HTC-Linux

Geeksphone One

Has root: YES
Sim Unlocked: YES
In production: NO

The geeksphone one is very similar to the htcdream.
The screen resolution is lower, and they have a different wifi chip(the same than the freerunner which uses WEXT(not an issue for android))
Note that there is an android project with sources for it available here: https://github.com/rmcc/

Geeksphone Zero

Has root: YES
Sim Unlocked: YES
In production: YES

The Geeksphone Zero allows custom Android and Linux images to be run instead of the deault ones.
Cyanogenmod (the android derivate Replicant is based on) provides support for the Geeksphone Zero.

SoC is Qualcomm MSM7227 (easy to support on Android).
GizmoForYou FLOW G1.55

Has root: YES?
Sim Unlocked: YES?
In production: ?

Overo boards used in this phone are OMAP 3 with free xloader and u-boot (like in GTA04).
Modem uses AT and Android reference RIL (free) is used. Audio is ALSA.

Instructions to build Android 2.2 for it are provided: http://www.gizmoforyou.net/wiki/index.php/Building_G155_Android
The Android 2.2 source code is availble here: https://gitorious.org/flow-g1-5/

Non-free firmwares are needed for WiFi, bluetooth, etc on the Overo boards that include these.
Also, a non-free gralloc lib is used (for graphical acceleration). The 0xdroid project should be able to provide a free gralloc for OMAP 3 boards as a working replacement.

Documentation (datasheets) are also available for most hardware components.

Unfortunately that phone isn’t cheap.

DIY Phones

Has root: ?
Sim Unlocked: ?
In production: ?

There is a small number of Do-it-yourself phones where the user is
expected to assemble his phone.
Examples of this include the odroid
( http://www.hardkernel.com/ ) phones with comes with android support.
However the issue is that not all users wants or are able to assemble their own phones.

Updated by Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli almost 9 years ago · 3 revisions

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