PHONE USERS looking for a fully functioning operating system now have the option of loading Google's open source Android operating system on their shiny Apple smartphone.
A talented coder who previously worked on jail-breaking various Iphone OS releases also demonstrated, a year ago, the Linux kernel running on an Iphone. This time he goes one better, not only showing that the Iphone can indeed dual-boot, but can do so between the Iphone OS and the Android OS.
By using the previously released Openiboot loader, the user, upon firing up the device can choose which operating system to load. The video goes on to show a pretty standard Linux boot sequence, used in order to mount partitions onto the Iphone's flash memory, and finally handing over to Android.
The boot process does take a while, but the modest coder explains that "pretty much everything works", though he admits that the release currently isn't "production quality", stating it's more like an "alpha" quality, which Steve Jobs presumably will be relieved to hear.
Throughout the video Android seems fairly sluggish but the coder puts it down to the fact that Android is running in "debug mode" and that there is a garbage collector running in the kernel. Given that the Iphone 2G wasn't known as a zippy device, even when it was running the cut down Iphone OS, that's not surprising.
Regardless of it's alpha status, the video shows that WiFi connectivity, music playback, SMS and call capabilities are all present. It's obvious that due to the "button shortage", as the coder puts it, on the Iphone, that Android's user interface would require a major rejigging to make it work comfortably on the shiny Apple toy.
At present the "Idroid" only works with the first generation Iphone, though the coder says it should be "pretty simple" make it work with newer versions of the device. The best way to get hold of Idroid is to hit Bittorrent, as the web mirror linked on the coder's site is currently unavailable.
It should be stressed that Idroid, at present, is merely another way to stick two fingers up at Jobs' Mob and their notorious restrictions on computing freedom. That said, the functionalities and more importantly, the possibilities of this first alpha release already rival two generations of the production quality Iphone OS.