Building Android for BeagleBone Black with Kernel 3.2

Note: SGX (hardware-accelerated OpenGL) is supported only in Kernel 3.2

Get source (using TI DevKit)

mkdir ~/ti-android-bbb
cd ~/ti-android-bbb
repo init -u git:// -m TI-Android-JB-4.2.2-DevKit-4.1.1.xml
repo sync


export PATH=~/ti-android-bbb/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.6/bin:$PATH

Build U-Boot and X-Loader

cd ~/ti-android-bbb/u-boot
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- am335x_evm_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi-

Build Android and Kernel with SGX On

cd ~/ti-android-bbb
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboneblack OMAPES=4.x
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboneblack fs_tarball

Creating the SD Card

mkdir ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/kernel/arch/arm/boot/uImage ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/u-boot/MLO ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/u-boot/u-boot.img ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/external/ti_android_utilities/am335x/u-boot-env/uEnv_beagleboneblack.txt ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/out/target/product/beagleboneblack/rootfs.tar.bz2 ~/android-bbb-image
cp ti-android-bbb/external/ti_android_utilities/am335x/mk-mmc/ ~/android-bbb-image
cd ~/android-bbb-image
sudo./ /dev/sdX MLO u-boot.img uImage uEnv_beagleboneblack.txt rootfs.tar.bz2

U-Boot for BeagleBone Black

Getting U-Boot and patching

Note: Use this guide only if you are building Android with Kernel 3.8

cd ~/
mkdir u-boot-bbb
cd u-boot-bbb
git clone git://
cd u-boot/
git checkout v2013.04 -b tmp
patch -p1 < 0001-am335x_evm-uEnv.txt-bootz-n-fixes.patch

Compiling U-Boot

We will compile U-Boot using the same toolchain used for compiling the Kernel, and not the one present in Rowboat-Android

export PATH=$PATH:~/linux-dev/dl/gcc-linaro-arm-linux-gnueabihf-4.7-2013.04-20130415_linux/bin/
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- distclean
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- am335x_evm_config
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf-

U-Boot for BeagleBone Black

Output files

The output files are ./MLO and u-boot.img. Copy these two files into a new folder in your home directory (i.e.: ~/bbb-android-image)
Next: Compiling Android with Kernel 3.8

Android 4.1.2 Image for Beagleboard XM

This Image can be loaded into an SD Card (4GBytes min). It can run entirely from the SD Card, or the Android OS can run from a USB Flash, and U-Boot, X-Loader and the Kernel on the SD Card.

Configure U-Boot

For running entirely from the SD Card

Setup U-BOOT for Android and Kernel on SD Card


For running Android OS from a USB Drive

Setup U-BOOT for Android on USB and Kernel on SD Card


copy rootfs.tar.bz2 to USB Drive and untar (all these commands should be executed as Administrator)

Create SDCard

Note: Script not yet optimized for configuration with USB Drive (it is not necessary to copy rootfs to SD Card when booting from USB)
sudo ./ /dev/sdb MLO u-boot uImage boot.scr rootfs.tar.bz2

Files: Android Image for BeagleBoard xM

Building Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) for Beagleboard xM

Jelly Bean on Beagleboard xM


  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS – AMD64
    • A 64-bit OS is needed in order to build Android 4.x from source code
  • Dual- or Quad-core  (recommended) CPU
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • 45GB of free disk space
  • Internet connection

Installing utils and libs

From a Terminal console execute
sudo aptitude install ia32-libs
sudo apt-get install git-core gnupg flex bison gperf build-essential
zip curl libc6-dev libncurses5-dev:i386 x11proto-core-dev
libx11-dev:i386 libreadline6-dev:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386
libgl1-mesa-dev g++-multilib mingw32 openjdk-6-jdk tofrodos
python-markdown libxml2-utils xsltproc zlib1g-dev:i386

and then
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/mesa/ /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/

Installing Oracle Java JDK

  1. Download Oracle Java6 JDK from here (file: jdk-6u34-linux-x86.bin) to ~/Downloads
  2. In a Terminal cnosole execute
    1. cd ~/Downloads
    2. cp jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin ~/
    3. cd ~/
    4. chmod +x  jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin
    5. ./jdk-6u43-linux-x64.bin
    6. sudo mv jdk1.6.0_43/ /usr/lib/jvm/
  3. Add Oracle Java6 JDK to Ubuntu JVM list
    1. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/javac javac /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/javac 1
    2. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/java java /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/java 1
    3. sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/bin/javaws javaws /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_43/bin/javaws 1
  4. Select Oracle Java6 JDK as default JVM
    1. sudo update-alternatives –config javac
    2. sudo update-alternatives –config java
    3. sudo update-alternatives –config javaws

In this three last commands, select Oracle Java6 JDK as default, like in the example below

kimi@X-Server:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config java
There are 2 choices for the alternative java (providing /usr/bin/java).

Selection Path Priority Status
0 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 auto mode
1 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 manual mode
* 2 /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_34/bin/java 1 manual mode
Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2

Installing REPO

Repo is a tool created by Google in order to admin git repositories easyly.
In a Terminal console execute

  1. mkdir ~/bin
  2. export PATH=~/bin:$PATH
  3. curl > ~/bin/repo
  4. chmod a+x ~/bin/repo

Initialize the repository

  1. mkdir ~/rowboat-android
  2. cd ~/rowboat-android
  3. repo init -u git:// -m rowboat-jb-am37x.xml                         (JB for Beagleboard)
  4. repo sync

If a warning telling you that there is a new REPO version appears. Stop the sync process and update

  1.  cp ~/rowboat-android/.repo/repo/repo  ~/bin/repo
  2. chmod a+x ~/bin/repo
  3. repo sync

Once the repo is successfully synced, you will see a message like this:

* [new branch]      rowboat-froyo -> rowboat/rowboat-froyo
* [new branch]      rowboat-gingerbread -> rowboat/rowboat-gingerbread
* [new branch]      rowboat-ics -> rowboat/rowboat-ics
* [new branch]      rowboat-jb -> rowboat/rowboat-jb
* [new branch]      ti-dsp     -> rowboat/ti-dsp
Fetching projects: 100% (261/261), done.
Checking out files: 100% (8843/8843), done.out files:  10% (949/8843)
Checking out files: 100% (24601/24601), done.ut files:  50% (12308/24601)
Checking out files: 100% (18021/18021), done.ut files:   3% (616/18021)
Checking out files: 100% (35638/35638), done.ut files:   1% (663/35638)
Checking out files: 100% (2088/2088), done. out files:   6% (134/2088)
Checking out files: 100% (974/974), out files:  34% (336/974)
Checking out files: 100% (667/667), out files:  18% (123/667)
Checking out files: 100% (2412/2412), done. out files:   4% (106/2412)
Checking out files: 100% (26958/26958), done.ut files:  24% (6516/26958)
Checking out files: 100% (81/81), done.
Checking out files: 100% (441/441), out files:  43% (194/441)
Checking out files: 100% (6505/6505), done. out files:   1% (108/6505)
Syncing work tree: 100% (261/261), done.


Cross compiling Jelly Bean for Beagleboard

Now we are going to modify the PATH variable in order to include the binary directory of the GCC compiler. The following command should be executed every time you open a new Terminal console and want to compile the code. Unless, you include the new PATH into your ‘.bashrc’ or ‘.bash_profile’ file.
export PATH=~/rowboat-android/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.6/bin:$PATH


X-loader is a small first stage boot loader derived from the u-boot base code to be loaded into the internal static ram by the OMAP ROM code. Because the internal static ram is very small (64k-32k), x-loader is stripped down to the essentials and is used to initialize memory and enough of the peripheral devices to access and load the second stage loader (U-boot) into main memory.
In order to build X-loader we will follow these steps
cd ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3beagle_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- -j4

the parameter ‘-j4’ will tell the make to use up to 4 threads to build the code. If you have a dual-core/two-threads CPU, use ‘-j2’. Omitting this parameter will also compile the code, but using just a single thread (which for x-loader or u-boot is not a big problem, but the Android source code can take many hours).
The result of this process is a file named ‘x-load.bin’ on the current directory. This file should be signed with a tool called ‘signGP’ before x-loader gets into the MMC card.

Downloading Rowboat-tools for Jelly Bean

cd ~
curl > RowboatTools.tar.gz
tar -zxvf RowboatTools.tar.gz

Signing x-load.bin

cp ~/RowboatTools/signGP/signGP ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/signGP
cd ~/rowboat-android/x-loader
./signGP x-load.bin
cp x-load.bin.ift MLO

Now we have a ‘MLO’ file which is a signed version of the binary x-loader, and this file can be used in the board.


Uboot is a universal bootloader program that developed for the loading and starting of embedded Linux systems. Uboot essentially can load a (linux) kernel from one of several locations, and start it with corresponding arguments.

cd ~/rowboat-android/u-boot/
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3_beagle_config
make CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- -j4

The result of this process is ‘u-boot.bin’ file. And a successful build generates an output like this:

api/libapi.a post/libpost.a board/ti/beagle/libbeagle.a --end-group /home/kimi/rowboat-android/u-boot/arch/arm/lib/eabi_compat.o -L /home/kimi/rowboat-android/prebuilts/gcc/linux-x86/arm/arm-eabi-4.6/bin/../lib/gcc/arm-eabi/4.6.x-google -lgcc -Map -o u-boot
arm-eabi-objcopy -O srec u-boot u-boot.srec
arm-eabi-objcopy --gap-fill=0xff -O binary u-boot u-boot.bin

Building Android, Kernel and SGX

In order to build Android, its kernel and SGX (which provides the Hardware Acceleration needed by Android 3.x+)

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard OMAPES=5.x -j4

(This step takes aprox. 1 hour)
If this commad successed you will see something like this on the console

Installation complete!

cat >install
chmod a+x install
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/kimi/rowboat-android/hardware/ti/sgx’
If you don’t see an output like this, try running the command without “-j4”.
If everything is Ok, then it’s time to create the root filesystem and compress it into a tar.gz file. (20 minutes. aprox)
cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard fs_tarball -j4

Building Kernel and Android separately

It is possible to build the kernel and Android separately, and this is recommended once you have done a full build and you have modified only a small part of the code.

Builing the Kernel

cd ~/rowboat-android/kernel
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- distclean
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- omap3_beagle_android_defconfig
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-eabi- uImage -j4

This will generate ‘uImage’ (kernel image) in “~/rowboat-android/kernel/arch/arm/boot”

Builing Android

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard droid -j4

Again, in order to create the root filesystem, run

cd ~/rowboat-android
make TARGET_PRODUCT=beagleboard fs_tarball

Creating a bootable SD-Card

Once x-load, Uboot, kernel and Android are built, it’s time to create a bootable SD-Card with all this files.

Boot arguments

Edit boot arguments for am37x.
cd ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr
gedit boot.scr

Change mem=256M with mem=448M. This will increase the amount of RAM available in Android for applications.
Generate boot script

Putting all together

Format the SD Card into a single FAT32 partition. A +4GB SD Card is recommended, while the minimum amount of memory is 2GB.

mkdir ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/kernel/arch/arm/boot/uImage ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/u-boot/u-boot.bin ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/x-loader/MLO ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-bootscr/boot.scr ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/rowboat-android/out/target/product/beagleboard/rootfs.tar.bz2 ~/rowboat-image
cp ~/RowboatTools/am37x/mk-mmc/ ~/rowboat-image

Execute the script

cd ~/rowboat-image
sudo ./ /dev/sdb  MLO u-boot.bin uImage boot.scr rootfs.tar.bz2

Change /dev/sdb with the path for your SD Card
If you don’t see anything executed on the console, may be has a hidden char that generates problem. Try opening the file with gEdit and copying the content to another file, for example Then make that file executable and try again.


Now you are ready to extract the SD Card, insert it into the Beagleboard and run Android. Be patience, the first start up can take several minutes. The second time you start up Android it takes minutes more or less.


Some SD Cards show a very poor performance. Most Kingston micro SDHC cards have this performance issue. San Disk micro SDHC or Sony micro SDHC are recommended.

Known issues

  • mmc0: error -110 whilst initializing SD card
Your are using a SDHC Card affected by preemption model in Kernel 2.6. Look to this post about loading “rootfs” from USB . This avoids the bug, and gives more performance & storage space.