Embedded Android

There are many courses that teach you how to write applications for Android. This is not one of them. Instead, this courses focuses on the Android platform itself. It will teach you how to take the source code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and build a custom Android image for a wide range of applications. Typical use-cases include test equipment, point of sale, and industrial control terminals. Usually, Android is embedded into the system so that the end user sees only the user interface that controls the device.

During this four day course you will design your own product using the latest version of Android, Android 12. Beginning with a clean copy of AOSP, you will build system images and use them to boot the target device. You will create a new Android System Service, defining the interface using the Android Interface Definition Language, AIDL. You will learn about the Android security framework and SELinux, and add SELinux policy files for the changes you have made. Later, you will learn about the Hardware Abstraction Layer, the HIDL interface language, and binderized and passthrough transports

Roughly half of the course is taken by hands-on lab sessions during which you will apply the theory to create an embedded Android device. At the moment it is only available on-line, using a web-based virtual classroom. You will be building and testing AOSP in the cloud using the Cuttlefish emulator as the target

Download course details as a PDF


4 days

Upcoming courses

On-line (European timezone): 8th to 11th August 2022. Price per attendee GBP 1850
Click here for information about booking a course


This course is ideal for system architects, engineers and project leaders who want to know how Android works, and how to customize and extend the platform


Good knowledge of C/C++ and Java

Familiarity with embedded Linux concepts (toolchain/bootloader/kernel/root filesystem)

Familiarity with Linux command-line tools such as make, grep, and find


All students will receive:

  • Electronic copies presentations and lab notes
  • Worked solutions to the problems


Introduction to Android

  • Android architecture: the big picture
  • The Android Open Source Project (AOSP)
  • Building Android from source
  • The impact of Project Treble

Creating a new Android product

  • The structure of an Android device
  • Setting basic hardware characteristics
  • Adding the device to the "lunch" menu

The kernel

  • Looking at some Android-specific changes to Linux
  • The Google common kernel and vendor kernels
  • Building Linux from source

Booting Android

  • Options for storage layout: separate system and vendor partitions; system-as-root; A-B "seamless update"
  • Flashing images using fastboot
  • Android init: events and services
  • Understanding run command (.rc) scripts

The Android build system

  • Building a product from packages and modules
  • Android Blueprint files (Android.bp)
  • Android Makefiles (Android.mk)

The Android framework

  • Understanding Android services
  • The role of binder and AIDL
  • Adding a custom system service inside a persistent app
  • Accessing the service from a platform library


  • Application sandboxing
  • Writing system and privileged apps
  • Calling platform libraries


  • How Android permissions work and how to add your own
  • POSIX user ID and group ID within Android
  • Understanding and modifying SELinux policy files
  • Security threats and "rooting"

The Hardware Abstraction layer

  • Types of HAL: binderized; passthrough and same process (sp)
  • HIDL – the HAL Interface Definition language
  • Run-time linking and the Vendor Native Development Kit (VNDK)
  • The Vendor Interface (VINTF)

Testing; CTS and VTS

  • Validating your Android implementation using the Compatibility Test Suite, CTS
  • Testing your vendor HAL using the Vendor Test Suite, VTS
  • Graphics

    • How SurfaceFlinger orchestrates image rendering
    • Internal and external displays