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The new Android port to the iPhone relies on OpeniBoot as a boot loader.  (Source: David Wang via YouTube)

Android's home screen -- in action on the iPhone  (Source: David Wang via YouTube)
Apple surely isn't happy about this

Much like the open platform Windows invaded the traditionally closed hardware platform of Apple's Macs -- first unofficially, and then later officially condoned -- Android is now establishing a beach head on Apple's coveted iPhone.

Hacker David Wang, better known as "planetbeing" on the internet, made waves a few weeks ago when he showed off a first generation (2G) iPhone that he got running a modified Android OS kernel.  Wang is well know in the hacking community for being one of the key contributors to the iPhone 3GS jailbreak.  This week he showed off Android running on the iPhone 3G, or the version with the "nasty plastic, easily scratched back", as Wang puts it.

Wang's solution is dual booting.  You can only run one OS at a time.  Wang is using the OpeniBoot tool to manage the multiboot.  Rebooting takes a while because the NAND and FTL (flash translation layer) drivers aren't optimized yet, though Wang feels this will soon change. 

Wang had to port UltraSn0w (from the iPhone Dev Team) into OpeniBoot to get the radio working.  It starts running during the boot process -- this is one of the slowest steps.

Currently almost everything -- including Wi-Fi, internet, SMS, and MMS -- is working in the Android port.  The only thing not working is sound, which is a disappointment as you can't make or receive phone calls.  Don't worry, though -- Wang is promising that he's make major progress in getting the sound fully working and ready for primetime.

There are now several new developers working on this exciting project.  Wang states, "With their help I'm sure we'll be able to bring the system to production quality before too long."

Currently the code has not been published, but Wang plans to release a polished version within the next couple days for public consumption.  Keep checking Wang's website here.

Apple surely won't be happy when they discover what Wang has been up to.  It wouldn't be surprising even, if they try to sue to stop the spread of Android on the iPhone.  Apple has already stated that it believes jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone to be illegal.  Ultimately, though, it's just one more sign that Android is threatening to do to the iPhone's version of OS X what Windows did to MacOS/OS X on the personal computer.

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so what?
By lucyfek on 5/9/2010 3:45:18 PM , Rating: 0
this would be the news is they ported iphone onto cheaper android hardware (this would also piss off apple). what they did creates additional market for apple (and maybe att if phone is still locked into their contract) and does little for android side. it's fun academic exercise to do this but makes sense only if you got dirt cheap iphone without contract and/or got fed up with iphone os to the point that price no longer matters (and even then there are better ways to burn your $).

RE: so what?
By Gungel on 5/9/2010 4:38:11 PM , Rating: 4
I think it is very useful because Apple is going to stop supporting old hardware with their newest OS and a lot of people are coming out of contract. Which means that tons of these older iPhones become available. And with this hack you can actually run a decent mobile OS on older hardware.

RE: so what?
By hiscross on 5/9/2010 7:26:13 PM , Rating: 1
"Apple is going to stop supporting old hardware with their newest OS" This is a commodity device, not some P1 PC. People change their cell phone all the time. I still have a Nokia I purchased in 1999 not in use, but it still works. Would I want to activate it? No. These guys need to build great software. That would make this industry to move forward, not hacking a 3 year old phone.

RE: so what?
By Targon on 5/10/2010 6:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
This is only the start of the process, and before much longer, they will have it working on the newest versions of the iPhone as well. With that said, there is a flaw in your logic, which is that many people find just about any dual-core processor to be fast enough for many needs.

Think about it, would you really have a problem using a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 running at 1.8GHz per core with Windows 7 as long as it had 3 gigs of system memory? Sure, it wouldn't be a great gaming machine or anything like that, but for the vast majority of people, the dual-core processor is fast enough for e-mail, web browsing(even with Flash 10.1 enabled), and most things. So, the hardware for this isn't the reason why most end users would replace their machines. The hard drive having problems WOULD be a reason to upgrade, since the cost of paying others for labor makes buying a replacement machine worth the money.

Cell phones are going through the rapid evolution the PC industry was going through back in the 1980s, where current hardware is not fast enough for most people, and that drives people to upgrade. The hardware in the iPhone will probably seem horribly slow in another three years, but it may still be seen as functional by some people. Basically, the hardware is getting fast enough for an "old phone" to be seen as useful. Even my old Palm Treo 680 wouldn't be a problem if the operating system were replaced with something newer.

RE: so what?
By gt1911 on 5/10/2010 3:02:09 AM , Rating: 2
If people go down this path, Apple will still get the revenue from the sale of the phone (or whatever the carrier gives them), but not all the following proceeds from the applications they sell, itunes songs and the like. I gather that is a significant portion of their revenue.

Since it also means that in those markets where iphones are locked to one carrier, the phone can be used on a different carrier and maybe this might straing the relationship between Apple and their partners?

RE: so what?
By Targon on 5/10/2010 6:45:59 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with porting the iPhone OS to another device is that it is closed, and copyright really would give Apple grounds for a lawsuit(you can't modify the code under the license). However, Android is open source, so modifications can be done without fear of a lawsuit.

The physical device is something that Apple really can't stop people from tinkering with since people buy the phone, but they can stop their code from being used on other devices.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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