Android on Zaurus 

Zaurus SL-C3x00 Installation Instructions

Tested on my SL-C3100, this is a small bootable Poky 2.6.23 kernel with a copy of the Android OS from the SDK (qemu) emulator.

Installation on the Zaurus is done in the usual way:

1. Download the following files and copy them to a SD card. You can check the integrity of the downloaded files with the md5sum <filename> command. The checksum should match the hash value on the right.
  • zImage.bin
  • MD5: 186bbfd829edeb29a2ff8cfbc8658a22
  • MD5: bd35e7bb9d796f1f1357a2c517af66f2
  • gnu-tar
  • MD5: 34b647d6444a9a38e269c2793c7d0bf2
  • android-root.tar.gz
  • MD5: b4c15f132b5c6c639a0b5e033b4adf3a

    2. Remove battery and power adapter cable
    3. Wait for 5 seconds
    4. Replace battery, close and lock battery cover
    5. Attach power adapter cable
    6. Keep OK button pressed while pressing on/off switch
    7. From the Japanese menu, choose option 4 (Update), then 2 (SD) and finally Y

    Flashing starts, and you are asked if you want to flash the kernel, if you want the microdrive to be formatted and if you want the root filesystem to be installed.
    Accept all questions answering them with y

    After flashing is complete, the machine is rebooted. Login with root and type /start to start Android.
    This is the basic version, without any of the patches found across the Net.

    Have fun, and share your results and findings of course!

    Zaurus SL-C1000 Installation Instructions

    The SL-C1000 installer works slightly differently from the SL-C3x00 version. It uses Altboot to boot from a ext3 partitioned SD card. I tried using a the normal procedure where the root filesystem boots from internal flash, but this resulted in socket errors (Connection refused) on startup of Android, as described here. I simply don't know enough about the internal workings of Android as to understand why this is, so I searched for a workaround. Using Altboot is the workaround I came up with. Since Altboot makes it possible to boot from SD or CF apart from the usual internal flash memory, I partitioned and formatted a 1Gb SD card with a ext3 partition. Then I Flashed a slightly customized Poky kernel with Altboot included. The Android root filesystem is extracted to SD and the Zaurus boots from SD. From there it's a simple chroot android-root start to start Android. That sounds too simple? Let's do a step by step then ;-)


    Partition and format your SD card with an ext3 partition. The ext partition is important, if you want this to work. Don't use fat or fat32, use ext3, otherwise you'll regret it. I used sudo gparted on my Ubuntu desktop to make the partitioning and formatting easier. I also added a swap partition for some future Debian experiments, but this isn't necessary. For now you can safely skip the swap-partition step, just make sure you have a ext3 partition formatted (is the importance of the ext3 bit clear enough you think?).


    Download gnu-tar, initrd.bin, zImage.bin, and android-root.tar.gz and copy the files to the freshly formatted (ext3) SD memory card.


    The flashing is done in the usual way.

    1. Remove battery and power adapter cable
    2. Wait for 5 seconds
    3. Replace battery, close and lock battery cover
    4. Attach power adapter cable
    5. Keep OK button pressed while pressing on/off switch
    6. From the Japanese menu, choose option 4 (Update), then 2 (SD) and finally Y

    You're asked if you want to flash the kernel, erase the flash, flash the root filesystem and finally the Android root filesystem. You can except all questions with the defaults (all yes). Only the last bit, the extraction of the Android root filesystem, doesn't work (yet). It doesn't seem to be possible to extract a tar archive to an ext3 formatted SD from the flashing environment (Permission denied). We need to do an extra step because of that unfortunately.

    After flashing the Zaurus is rebooted automatically and Altboot is started. First time you need to enter a specific Altboot password. After that, choose option 1 so the Zaurus boots from internal flash memory. Login with root and extract the android root filesystem manually.
    cd /media/card
    tar -xzpf android-root.tar.gz
    Depending on the speed of your SD card this can take a while.

    Now, I found out the best way to handle now is doing a full reset (power off, battery remove, 5sec wait, replace battery and power on). The Zaurus boots, and when Altboot starts choose option 3, boot from SD. The first time you do this you'll be asked if you want to copy the home directory. Answer yes to this question!

    The machine now boots from SD and you can login as usual with root.

    Starting Android:

    To start Android, simply run chroot /home/root/android-root start

    That's it, let the party begin. Please report any problems, enhancements etc.