• 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
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