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  • Android Port to 3GS and A4 Progress Report

    It has been quite sometime since word of the Android operating system being ported to the iPhone has been big news or an issue of public excitement. When Android on the iPhone originally hit the presses, everyone was on it and it was a hot topic for the entire summer of 2010. The latest release was the successful Android port to the iPhone 3G last year. The developers behind the releases who consist of the iDroid Project have been working tirelessly to continue pushing this innovation to devices past the iPhone 3G. Despite this, there has been little coverage of iDroid Project's efforts and the current status of the port development for the iPhone 3GS and A4 devices.

    I spoke with Nick Pack, project leader of the iDroid Project, and asked him a few questions regarding the progress of the port and what it has taken to make it as far as it has gone. I commend Nick and his team for all their hard work and give them the best of luck as they continue to push onward until completion. This exclusive article is not only for the readers but is also dedicated to the non-stop work Nick and his team at iDroid Project has invested in completing the Android port.

    JOSH: How many members are on the current team working on the 3GS and A4 Android port?
    NICK: There are presently 4 people working on the A4 & 3GS ports.

    JOSH: What coding experience and expertise is required to work on the Android port?
    NICK: A strong knowledge of: C, ARM Assembler and general hardware knowledge for OpeniBoot and the kernel, Java & C knowledge for Android.

    JOSH: In terms of percentage, how far along are you in the port development? Is there any current hurdles that are making the process more complicated? If so, can you elaborate?
    NICK: Both the A4 and 3GS OpeniBoot ports are somewhere in the region of 60% complete. Currently the team is working on the FTL which is one of the most complex parts of OpeniBoot, then we'll move on to the kernel. And finally after that, we'll start on libraries for Android (the radio interface layer, sensors library etc.).

    JOSH: Have you been able to emulate the Android platform at all on the 3Gs or A4 yet?
    NICK: At the present time, both the OpeniBoot ports for 3GS and A4 devices aren't far enough along for there to be any userland yet. Once the bootloader is ported then kernel drivers need to be written and various userland libraries written to accompany them. The team are working on one of the most complex parts of the bootloader at the present time; the FTL and filesystem drivers. This is a painstakingly slow and complex task, but once completed, we'll be able to boot a linux kernel from the NAND flash.

    JOSH: How long has the team been working on the Android port for the respective devices? Do you have any tentative ETA at this point or are you just "done when you're done?"
    NICK: Work on the A4 port started late last year, but progress was slow due to there being a lack of skilled developers on the team to work on it. In the recent few weeks, the port has accelerated drastically. The 3GS port was started a couple of months back but lessons learned from the A4 port helped to bring it inline quickly. Due to the nature of the project, it is completly impossible to estimate just how long these things take. This is mainly due to the sheer volume of reverse engineering that has to be done, but we are working with largely undocumented and uncommon hardware so it comes with the territory.

    As more information and progress is released, the content regarding any aspect will hit ModMyi as soon as practical and possible. For further information regarding the iDroid Project, visit their website, browse their forums, and follow Nick Pack and the iDroid Project on Twitter.

    Edit: Bluerise, one of the team members working on the port tweeted earlier today that he's been able to get a NAND read and launch OpeniBoot on his iPhone 4 and iPad 1G.

    Also, I had an opportunity to speak with Bluerise on IRC and ask him to elaborate further on what this means for the progress of the project.

    Source(s): Nick Pack, iDroid Project, iDroid Project - Website, Bluerise
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Android Port to 3GS and A4 Progress Report started by Joshua Tucker View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. gdd2010's Avatar
      gdd2010 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jOnGarrett View Post
      why would someone want to downgrade from Android to iOS? why would they want to be forced to use iTunes as opposed to drag and drop? why would they want strict control over their property? why would they want to have to jailbreak their device so they can do things Android already lets them do?

      on the other hand, Android on an iphone 4 would give me a more flexible OS on a beautiful piece of hardware.
      Ummm. Contrary to popular belief... Android phones AREN'T open. Whereas Android OS is open source and customizable... you must root your hardware first, as the phone manufacturers (Motorola, Samsung, HTC) all have lock-down on the boot-loader. Control means profit.

      Also, you have to deal with the carrier controls.. you buy an Android phone from ATT, you get ATT's "bloatware" and must "root" your phone to remove it... With rooting, you get issues with certain parts of the OS not working (GPS, Button functionality). Therefore, you have fragmentation of the Android OS; as one flavor of Gingerbread is not necessarily working correctly on your HTC but works fine on a Motorola.

      Be careful about thinking that Android is so much more open than iOS. B/C the OS is, the H/W manufacturers and Carriers are not.
    1. Stray's Avatar
      Stray -
      Quote Originally Posted by lavoieleericky View Post
      "The only reason android can be ported legally is because it is open source. iOS isn't. That is also why windows phone 7 couldn't be ported to android even tho its hard it would violate the laws"

      didn't jailbreaking a phone once "violate" the laws?
      Quote fail yeah but those are licensed and if you wanna pay a huge fine after porting go ahead
    1. mectech's Avatar
      mectech -
      Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
      Could be useful as a way to use an iPhone with a non-unlockable baseband.
      Thumbs Up,
      I have already been playing around with Droid on my HTC HD2, and its a lot of fun,
      on the iphone 4 hardware, it might be called idr0id.
    1. klouud's Avatar
      klouud -
      This is really neat.... but I installed Froyo on my brother in law's iPhone 3G and it ran really slowly. Not to mention the touch screen was pretty unresponsive and the drivers were just not very compatible. Multiple functions were also not supported.

      If a REAL working Android install was released for 3GS and i4 then that would be really really cool. Otherwise... its just something cool to show off to your friends.

    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by kmmxracer View Post
      Cant wait for a good stable port to the iPad so I can sever all ties to Apple and have pure google on my 1st gen iPad.
      That doesn't make sense. If you were to severe all ties with Apple then you wouldn't own any of their products.

      I think it's sweet that they're porting Android, it won't be the fastest OS running on the phone but a dual-boot option is pretty sweet.
    1. jabij1's Avatar
      jabij1 -
      Joshua Tucker is the best thing that ever happened to MMi.
    1. kakasaka's Avatar
      kakasaka -
      This looks awesome I can't wait for this
    1. wesley98's Avatar
      wesley98 -
      is it for iphone 4 too??
    1. Joshua Tucker's Avatar
      Joshua Tucker -
      Quote Originally Posted by wesley98 View Post
      is it for iphone 4 too??
      Yes sir, the 3GS and A4 (a.k.a. iPhone 4).
    1. CovariantTensor's Avatar
      CovariantTensor -
      Finally, a post related to modding my apple device. Instead of rumors about the iPhone 9.
    1. malikusmanrasheed's Avatar
      malikusmanrasheed -
      dont know about every one else but i cant wait for the port to come.
      im seriously thinking of changing my phone from iphone to android ... but having both OS on the same phone is gona b even more awesome
    1. jwil736's Avatar
      jwil736 -
      Great article Josh.
      It's nice to know someone is taking initiative to find out what the devs are currently working on. Very good insight for what is to come and look forward to.
    1. SwatPac's Avatar
      SwatPac -
      Quote Originally Posted by kmmxracer View Post
      Cant wait for a good stable port to the iPad so I can sever all ties to Apple and have pure google on my 1st gen iPad.
      Instead, you should sell your iPad and buy a P.O.S Android tablet. I'll laugh pretty hard when your brand new android tablet is outdated the next day.
    1. Colby21's Avatar
      Colby21 -
      Hey Josh, where'd your other article go!?
    1. killakill's Avatar
      killakill -
      It's just another way to show that iOS is better than Android because of the ability to do this.

      Yes you can dual boot both iOS and Android on your iphone.
    1. Nopstnz8's Avatar
      Nopstnz8 -
      Can't wait! Been wanting this on my 3GS since the release for the 3G
    1. TronixGT's Avatar
      TronixGT -
      While I'm sure this is great news for many, I personally don't see a point in it. I use my JB'd iPhone 4 and a Thunderbolt 4G with android all day long while developing and testing my phone apps. I understand the open source factor, but to me this is like putting a Honda Motor in a Porsche. Sort of like the Windows Phone skin for iPhone. It's not nearly as nice of an interface, so why downgrade?
    1. aidanski's Avatar
      aidanski -
      Lol, I've been waiting almost two years for this.
    1. Xenthis's Avatar
      Xenthis -
      Quote Originally Posted by kmmxracer View Post
      cant wait for a good stable port to the ipad so i can sever all ties to apple and have pure google on my 1st gen ipad.
      me too!
    1. kakasaka's Avatar
      kakasaka -
      Quote Originally Posted by aidanski View Post
      Lol, I've been waiting almost two years for this.
      I have as a well since hearing of the 3g release