Programmer ports Google Android to first-gen Apple iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A programmer has managed to run the Google Android mobile operating system on an iPhone, with features like browsing the Web and making phone calls functional on Apple's hardware.



David Wong, who goes by the handle "planetbeing," demonstrated his hack on video this week. The dual-boot setup, using a program called "OpeniBoot," allows the iPhone to be restarted and then run Google Android.



While the hack was demonstrated on a first-generation iPhone, Wong said porting to the iPhone 3G would be "pretty simple." An iPhone 3GS compatible version, he said, would be more difficult.



"The iPhone can in fact dual boot both the iPhone OS and Android, he said. "So even if you install Android on your phone, your iPhone can still be used normally."



In the video, recorded with an iPhone 3GS, Wong shut down the iPhone running the iPhone OS to access the OpeniBoot software, which is only available on a "jailbroken" Apple handset. Jailbreaking is the term used to describe exploiting holes in the iPhone OS to allow the device to run unsigned and unauthorized code.



Holding down the home button when in OpeniBoot, the software loads the Linux-based Android operating system, created by Google. The video shows the entire boot process, which is particularly slow given the early state of the hack.



Wong created drivers to allow the features of the Android operating system to correspond with the hardware capabilities and inputs of the iPhone. Because the iPhone is lacking in physical buttons, Wong re-purposed the volume up and down controls to serve as the call and home buttons for the Android operating system.



"It's not really production quality yet," he said. "I'd say it's alpha quality. But pretty much everything works."







As shown in the video, Wong received signal through a prepaid Rogers SIM card, connected to a Wi-Fi network, opened the Android browser to surf the Web, received a text message and received a phone call. Using the onscreen virtual keyboard he was able to pull up a website and navigate through touch controls. He said the experience was "usable."



Wong also ran into a hardware issue when playing music, because Android searches for files on an SD card -- something not available on the iPhone. Still, he managed to create a workaround to play music on the handset.



Wong is a .Net and Android developer. He's asked for donations to help with the project, or programmers who can help him code.



In 2008, members of the iPhone hacking community managed to successfully boot Linux on the iPhone, iPhone 3G and original iPod touch. Wong noted in his video that earlier efforts didn't offer much functionality, as drivers were not available. The first port was based on the main Linux 2.6 kernel and had rudimentary graphics, serial and other functional drivers for basic tasks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Isn't that Sacrilege?
  • Reply 2 of 69
    Is this a 'prove it can be done' thing? I don't see why anyone would want to run Android versus the native iPhone app (especially with 4.0 coming soon). I've said it before - doesn't Google know enough about us already - let alone everything we do on our cell phones. meh.
  • Reply 3 of 69
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,204member
    In other news: I put a Skoda engine in my Mercedes.
  • Reply 4 of 69
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Awesome. No one off the tech sites cares.
  • Reply 5 of 69
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,147member
    Why??
  • Reply 6 of 69
    ijoeijoe Posts: 18member
    there is a bad issue with that phone........its running Android. I would never care for Android as I think Iphone OS is superior. HOWEVER, the man deserves props for being able to do that. Some people just see a challenge and have to overcome it and he is no exception. So congrats to him!!!
  • Reply 7 of 69
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Off topic, but I don't understand why jailbroken iPhone OS hasn't been put on other HW, especially on Chinese clones which could use a better OS than the buggy WinMo with an iPhone-like veneer.
  • Reply 8 of 69
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Android is ugly and clunky, I used a phone from a friend running it, its quite horrid compared to iPhone OS.
  • Reply 9 of 69
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Off topic, but I don't understand why jailbroken iPhone OS hasn't been put on other HW, especially on Chinese clones which could use a better OS than the buggy WinMo with an iPhone-like veneer.





    Probably not that easy to do. I have no experience with Jailbroken phones but I thought that you needed to be tethered to reboot even on a real iPhone so it doesn't seem practical at all on a non-Apple phone. But anything is possible I suppose. If the new hardware runs a custom chip Apple may put an end to any hacking in the future. Did any of the Giz info include specs about the cpu? If not, I wonder why not...hmmm?
  • Reply 10 of 69
    clexmanclexman Posts: 148member
    Its nice to have options. Like Windows on a Mac. If this guy is out of work, he will definitely be able to find a job now.



    I know that an iPhone running the iPhone OS is best, but its good to see something neat like this done.
  • Reply 11 of 69
    I think these types of projects are a resume of sort for the programmer.
  • Reply 12 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    In other news: I put a Skoda engine in my Mercedes.



  • Reply 13 of 69
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Probably not that easy to do. I have no experience with Jailbroken phones but I thought that you needed to be tethered to reboot even on a real iPhone so it doesn't seem practical at all on a non-Apple phone. But anything is possible I suppose.



    OSx86 Project has had Mac OS X running on all sorts of x86 HW for years and it seems like they have the same level of access between iPhone OS and Mac OS, but it's beyond my ken so I don't really know.



    Quote:

    If the new hardware runs a custom chip Apple may put an end to any hacking in the future. Did any of the Giz info include specs about the cpu? If not, I wonder why not...hmmm?



    It doesn't look like they dismantled anything that they couldn't get back together and they didn't examine anything that might have been some super secret trade secret. I have to assume they they didn't do anything without first consulting with Gawker's lawyers.



    Personally, I can't wait to see how they put that board together. Using the SIM card pins I've been trying to figure out how they constructed the new board. This is by far the most advanced CE I've ever seen.
  • Reply 14 of 69
    My first question is why would someone want to do this?



    What version was that android OS version? I have played around with an android phone I believe it was an HTC about a year ago and it was nice but no where nice as an iPhone and the iPhone OS. IS the android OS in this video up to date? If so then android OS seems very PC like. I have heard someone on this website on this forum make the analogy that google is the new Microsoft. The android OS looks very PC like compared to iPhone OS. Android looks very impersonal compared to the iPhone.
  • Reply 15 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    Isn't that Sacrilege?



    no, he's upgrading it to something useful.
  • Reply 16 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by clexman View Post


    Its nice to have options. Like Windows on a Mac. If this guy is out of work, he will definitely be able to find a job now.



    I know that an iPhone running the iPhone OS is best, but its good to see something neat like this done.



    Shouldn't the headline be "News Flash: Programmer wastes his time!". But yes I guess the option to do something so completely useless is a benefit to us all...



    I prefer to think the editorial process of deciding when not to do something, is a greater benefit than loading up the tech world with the equivalent of useless gas station counter trinkets. Clearly his nerding powers are weak. If you're going to do something kinda quirky and silly, this idiot is competing with the people who modded a car to be controlled by the iPhone. Might as well shove his phone up his butt and call it a prostate device.
  • Reply 17 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple/// View Post


    My first question is why would someone want to do this?



    What version was that android OS version? I have played around with an android phone I believe it was an HTC about a year ago and it was nice but no where nice as an iPhone and the iPhone OS. IS the android OS in this video up to date? If so then android OS seems very PC like. I have heard someone on this website on this forum make the analogy that google is the new Microsoft. The android OS looks very PC like compared to iPhone OS. Android looks very impersonal compared to the iPhone.



    because apple has abandoned old iphones even though they could be used for a myriad of things including workable cellphones with all the features of the latest greatest iphones minus the hardware bonuses for medium res photography and such.
  • Reply 18 of 69
    this will sell more iphones
  • Reply 19 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post


    this will sell more iphones



    extremely unlikely since all the new iphones will be locked down like communist russia
  • Reply 20 of 69
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by oxygenhose View Post


    Shouldn't the headline be "News Flash: Programmer wastes his time!". But yes I guess the option to do something so completely useless is a benefit to us all...



    I prefer to think the editorial process of deciding when not to do something, is a greater benefit than loading up the tech world with the equivalent of useless gas station counter trinkets. Clearly his nerding powers are weak. If you're going to do something kinda quirky and silly, this idiot is competing with the people who modded a car to be controlled by the iPhone. Might as well shove his phone up his butt and call it a prostate device.



    this "idiot" did something you couldn't do in a million years.
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