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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. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Keep up the great reporting Josh.

      Great reporting rule: No news for the day go out and find one. And getting an interview on a project that interests many is a great thing.

      Great article.
    1. Joshua Tucker's Avatar
      Joshua Tucker -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cer0 View Post
      Keep up the great reporting Josh.

      Great article.
      I'll continue to do the best I can .
    1. DevouredDreams's Avatar
      DevouredDreams -
      i must say josh does write interesting articles.

      but no offence but its funny how everyone on here is always talking about ios is better than android but yet when thier capable of putting it on their idevice then android becomes huge?? idk just dont get it
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DevouredDreams View Post
      i must say josh does write interesting articles.

      but no offence but its funny how everyone on here is always talking about ios is better than android but yet when thier capable of putting it on their idevice then android becomes huge?? idk just dont get it
      I think it has to do with more of why people are drawn to jailbreaking period. The ability to do what they want with their device. Being able to dual boot is something that many want to just get that flavor of android once and a while. And also to have a choice.
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ZXMustang View Post
      Android bearly runs stable on android devices...... Why the hell would you want it on your apple device. iOS maybe dated, but its solid as rock and the finish on the software is second to none. I had 8 android devices up to the new HTC inspire 4g, and they all have quirks that you just dont see with apple. Be happy with the best, because thats what you have.
      Obviosuly you havent played with other HTC Android based smartphones. Swappin the phone for another same phone wont solve the glitch that phone in general has. So many ways to customize the phone from running stock firmware to running custom firmware oveclocking the CPU imagine these guys in 6 months achieve just that. Overclock the A4 processor and run Android on iPhone 4. That iPhone would be pure animal. iOS is great just cant do what Android can and HTC makes some of the best Android based phones.
    1. DevouredDreams's Avatar
      DevouredDreams -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cer0 View Post
      I think it has to do with more of why people are drawn to jailbreaking period. The ability to do what they want with their device. Being able to dual boot is something that many want to just get that flavor of android once and a while. And also to have a choice.
      i get your point. Choices are great to have, but i guess where I tried android out for a while I dont really care to much for it as I do ios.
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DevouredDreams View Post
      i get your point. Choices are great to have, but i guess where I tried android out for a while I dont really care to much for it as I do ios.
      Same here. I had a couple android phones and they were alright but iOS and the iPhone touch interface just has me. But I wouldn't mind playing with Android every once in a while. I really want to try out honeycomb on a tablet but haven't got around to going to the store to try them.
    1. DevouredDreams's Avatar
      DevouredDreams -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cer0 View Post
      Same here. I had a couple android phones and they were alright but iOS and the iPhone touch interface just has me. But I wouldn't mind playing with Android every once in a while. I really want to try out honeycomb on a tablet but haven't got around to going to the store to try them.
      Honeycomb has an incredible ui (i like the neon type of blue it uses). ios could use some ui changes. I believe thats the only thing i liked about android was the ui changed with every update. I hated eclair, but i liked froyo as well as gingerbread. The custom roms was nice, and the ability to set the cpu to my liking, but IOS IS THE SHIZNIT!! lol
    1. DeathDude's Avatar
      DeathDude -
      I had issues with it running super slow and laggy on the 3G. I hope this can be fully functional on the 3GS.
    1. NakedFaerie's Avatar
      NakedFaerie -
      This is great news.
      I cant wait to install Android on my iPad. That'll show the Galaxy Tab owners :P
    1. lavoieleericky's Avatar
      lavoieleericky -
      "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?
    1. killakill's Avatar
      killakill -
      Android on a 4g? Truly the best if both worlds.
    1. SE73N's Avatar
      SE73N -
      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?
      ummm no

      Jailbreaking/Unlocking exempt from DMCA, aka officially legal
    1. ingesterfella's Avatar
      ingesterfella -
      @Joshua great article keep up the good work nice to see something different and not already told 
    1. cheme75's Avatar
      cheme75 -
      I can see that if they can get to full functionality and decent stability for the 3g and 3gs it has the potential to give new life to old idevices abandoned by apple. suspect it will not be too much longer for the 3gs to see its last update. short term maybe not much to desire but long term potential is strong.
    1. snowdweller's Avatar
      snowdweller -
      Can anyone confirm if I could dual boot iOS and iDroid?
    1. newyor's Avatar
      newyor -
      lol, who cares? If I would want Android OS on my phone I wouldn't buy iPhone in the first place
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      Quote Originally Posted by ShredNasty View Post
      I give props and respect to the devs involved for the insanely hard task they're doing. I can't imagine ruining the iExperience to boot Android though. If anything, you'd want iOS on an Android phone, but the Android market is so fragmented and is updated so often, I could see where that wouldn't get far. But could you imagine a Thunderbolt or an Atrix running iOS? A mobile Hackintosh!
      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.
    1. snowdweller's Avatar
      snowdweller -
      its called choice, and bang for your buck so two birds
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      I want this