Bootable Linux SD card images for some Rockchip RK3188 devices such as MINIX NEO X7, MK809III, Tronsmart T428 have already been released this summer, and it provided any easy way to try Linux on Rockchip RK3188 devices without messing with your Android installation. But now you can create Android bootable images with any Rockchip RK3188 devices thanks to create-android-sdcard script written by Ian Morrison, as long as you have the firmware for your Android mini PC, and I don’t see why it would not even work for tablets. It allows you to try Android firmwwre before replacing your existing installation (great for developers), and it can also be a way to handle multiple users on a single device. There could be one SD card for dad, one for mum, and one for the kid, and all you have to do is to take out and replace the SD card with your own each time you want to use the device.
- Requirements: Linux PC, a class 10 (micro) SD card with 8GB capacity or more, a Rockchip RK3188 devices and its firmware.
- Download and extract create-android-sdcard.7z.
- You’ll find create-android-sdcard bash script, and a Tools folder with utilities and the sdboot_rk3188.img that does the magic for SD card boot.
- Insert your SD card into your PC, and check your SD card device with lsblk. This is extremely important to get the path right (e.g. /dev/sdd). or you may wipe out your entire internal or external hard drive.
- Now run the script with your firmware image as parameter. For example:
- It will now ask you to confirm your SD card device name, unpack the Android ROM, create the partition on the SD card, and install all required files.
- Now insert the (micro) SD card in your Rockchip device, turn it on, and enjoy.
Please note that the first boot may be very slow, even you have a fast SD card. Next time, Android should boot relatively fast.
The script has only be tested on a few devices, so you may want to try it out on yours. It’s completely safe, and the worst case should be that you can’t boot from SD card, then simply remove it, and it will boot normally to the Android firmware installed in the internal flash. Android 4.4 firmwares should also work fine, but Android 4.2 may be more problematic due to different handling of the internal storage.
In case you wonder whether this is also possible with Rockchip RK3288, I’m currently testing Open Hour Chameleon, which exclusively boots from SD card (Android or Linux) since there’s no internal storage at all, so the script could eventually be updated to support RK3288, once the SD card boot procedure for the new Rockchip processor is discovered.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.