Android's director of engineering has given the clearest sign yet that Google sees RISC-V as an important architecture for the platform.
Lars Bergstrom, Android’s director of engineering, wants RISC-V to be seen as a “tier-1 platform” in Android, which would put it on par with Arm. That’s a big change from just six months ago. Bergstrom says getting optimized Android builds on RISC-V will take “a lot of work” and outlined a roadmap that will take “a few years” to come to fruition, but AOSP started to land official RISC-V patches back in September.
As Ars mentions, this is a significant turn of events from Google who in mid-2022 at Google I/O were remaining coy about their interest in RISC-V. At present, Google has the build system for RISC-V up and running with initial emulator support expected in early 2023.
While support for RISC-V is very much still in its infancy, having it as a tier-1 supported platform for Android means manufacturers will eventually have a strong competitor to ARM. RISC-V is defining open standards and specifications, making it less likely that commercial or political interests will cause issues.