A few months ago I stumbled across iDroid, a project that ports Android – Google’s mobile operating system – to the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and first generation iPod touch. Your iDevice will need to be jailbroken first with Redsn0w, PwnageTool, Blackra1n, or whited00r.I love tinkering. I love breaking from the norm and trying something different, and I love a challenge.
Installation is pretty simple. Go into Cydia, search for Bootlace, and install it, which should only take a few minutes. Once installed there will be a Bootlace icon on your phone. Run it and let it do its configuring and patching, and then reboot.
Once your iDevice has rebooted, run Bootlace again. Along the bottom you have QuickBoot and OpeniBoot. QuickBoot will allow you to boot straight into Android. OpeniBoot will allow you to install a special bootloader that lets you select iOS or Android on boot up.
Firstly you will need to install iDroid, the fourth button along the bottom. This will take a little while but is all done automatically. Finally, reboot. On start up you will be faced with a bootloader screen. Use the power button at the top or the volume buttons to cycle through the options, then press the home button to load your selected OS.
Load up Android. It will take a few minutes to load, and then you can have a play. It’s a great port of vanilla Gingerbread; everything seems to work including phone calls and WiFi.
Playing around, the first thing you will notice is that it is sluggish, and you might be thinking this is poor porting, but remember that the original iPhone only has a 412 MHz ARM 11 processor with 128 MB RAM, so all things considered its pretty good.
The very first Android handset the Google G1 (aka the HTC Dream) packed a 528 MHz ARM 11 processor with 192 MB RAM and only ran Android 1.6 ‘Donut’. Running the custom CyanogenMod 6.1 ROM brought Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ to the G1 and it ran okay, but not amazingly fast – and that’s on official Android hardware.
iDroid works well, but without severe tweaking it is going to suffer on the original iPhone and iPhone 3G, which share the same processor. To be fair, both of these devices are quite sluggish even with official Apple firmware. It takes a custom firmware like whited00r to increase the speed of these aging iPhones.
iDroid needs pushing on to higher hardware. Put it on a 3GS or even a 4, and it could be a useable device. But why would you? Why would you pay the extra price for the iPhone hardware just to run an outdated version of Android sluggishly?
If you really wanted to run Android, you would buy a proper Android phone. A handset running 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ – which is now a couple of versions old – can be picked up for a snip of the price of an iPhone.
Of course you can dual-boot on an iPhone, but you can’t run iOS on an Android handset. Perhaps iDroid is aimed at existing iPhone owners wanting to try out Android before jumping ship.
iDroid is an excellent project and a brilliant proof that Android can run on Apple hardware. There are a few other projects aiming to do the same, such as iPhodroid, but iDroid is the most complete and stable.