The Linaro Android Platform Team, Period March 7 to March 13.

 In Android, Hardware

Hello Linaro fans.

Something big is happening in Linaro. And something LITTLE too. Behind the cute moniker “big.LITTLE” hides a chip architecture that may improve the user experience of mobile devices dramatically. Up to now the device manufacturers have had trouble combining stunning performance with a long battery life. Imagine you drive around with a large engine in your car because you like to race it on the drag strip a few times a year. You would have to pay for that while commuting on all other days, because a large engine consumes excessive fuel even when you don’t use the power. That’s bad economy.

Enter the hybrid. By combining two sets of software compatible but different ARM CPUs in the same SoC, these conflicting demands on power and economy can be met. The big.LITTLE switcher in software ensures that your device has supercharged hot rod performance when you need it, but is ecological the rest of the time.

Linaro is adapting this technology to Android. Amazingly, without using any real life big.LITTLE boards. It all simulated on Fast Models.

Here’s a list of this weeks major achievements.

Key Points for wider discussion

  • The 12.03 toolchains, 4.6 and 4.7, is ready and being tested.
  • Android runs on A15, A7 and A15/A7 Fast Models.

Team Highlights

  • Verified that DS-5 5.9 works on Pandaboard with new gator.
  • An extensive TSC card revision has been done.
  • Progress on porting Iozone and Memtester to Android.

Bugs fixed


  • mansson will be leaving the Android team. Last day April 5.


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  • Achim Nohl

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for sharing these interesting news. We have been working for some time on bringing up Linux and Android as well on a big.LITTLE processing (ARM Fast Model based) Virtual Prototype. We are very excited about the possibilities and found the Fast Models very useful for debugging and understanding what is going on in the Hypervisor/Switcher and how it interacts with Linux and the HW. We have integrated the switcher into the Linux CPUFreq DVFS framework and it is surprising how fluent the switchover happens during software execution – you really hardly recognize it. I was wondering whether you have also taken the step and further integrated the switcher into the Android Power Management? It seems that for many usage scenarios you do not want Linux on its own to decide whether it should run fast or energy efficient. If there are any pointers, I would be very interested.

    Best regards,