Xiaomi releases Mi Box Global kernel source codes 3 years after launch
Android is not just about smartphones. Google is trying hard to push it everywhere: wearables, VR headsets as well as set-top boxes. Android TV is a dedicated fork of the regular version which is used on digital media players and smart TVs.
Chinese tech giant Xiaomi adopted Android for their smartphones, and modified it with their own skin called MIUI. However, their Mi Box range of set-top boxes run vanilla Android TV distribution.
The device itself was announced back during Google I/O 2016. It was actually the third generation of Mi Box, but Xiaomi went for ‘Mi Box’ instead of ‘Mi Box 3’ for marketing.
Don’t let the naming convention confuse you: there was another version of Mi Box 3 (codename: jurassicpark) in China, released one year earlier.
On the other hand, the internal model number of the US specific variant is MDZ-16-AB and the codename is ‘once’.
The handy gizmo was supposed to launch with Android 7 Nougat, but for some reason it did not happen. Users were stuck on Android 6.0 Marshmallow since the release for a long time.
Xiaomi entirely skipped the Nougat upgrade for regular users. The internal beta builds were leaked anyway and it brought some nice improvements.
Back in the end of Q2 2018, Xiaomi started to rollout stable Android 8 Oreo update for Mi Box. Together with every Oreo goodies, it also brought official Project Treble support.
The underlying SoC is from AMlogic, and the current Google Android TV reference development hardware (ADT-2) uses the same S905X Chipset. Considering the current development status, we hope it will eventually receive Android 9 Pie update.
— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) November 19, 2018
For tinkerers, Xiaomi does not provide an official method to unlock the bootloader of these boxes. People have already achieved root and booted Debian on it, but an proper unlocked method with kernel source codes would be handy for further development.
In case you need a reminder, Xiaomi kernel developer Ivan has posted that the Chinese OEM is planning to release kernel source codes as soon as possible – even for older devices.
And that was not a hoax! After publishing Mi 9 kernel source code on the launch day, Xiaomi has done the same for Mi Box 3.
The available source is based on the latest Oreo based builds. With the help of the codes, it can be possible to come up with custom kernels that may allow overclocking for smoother gameplay. Heck, the possibilities are endless!
Incidentally, Xiaomi has launched Mi Box 3S, 3 Enhanced Edition (also dubbed as Pro) and Mi Box 4/S as an upgrade over the original Mi Box 3. It is still being supported by updates, but we would expect Xiaomi to release source codes for current gen devices as well.
Do you have a Mi Box hooked up with your TV? Let us know by commenting below.
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