I saw the scoop first via Nat’s Four Short Links on O’Reilly Radar. The original source is a blog post from one of the Linux on iPhone developers, planetbeing. Apparently he has been working on this for a bit, substantiated by the lengthy video demonstrating the considerable results of his efforts. Watching the video it looks like most of the work went into the bootloader and chaining that to what I am pretty sure is an ARM build of the Linux kernel which hands off to Android.
This demo, as impressive as it is, is rough. Some of that planetbeing and his team will be able to address, mostly in terms of optimizing to improve responsiveness. I am surprised and impressed that the GSM functions work at this early stage. The biggest hurdle, a solution for which is unclear, is the smaller number of buttons on the iPhone. For now, they’ve taken over the volume switch to help make up the difference though that is clearly counter intuitive. Some other solution would be preferable in the long run.
What has me really jazzed about this is the possibilities for older hardware. I was irritated by the unavailability of the forthcoming iPhone OS 4 for my 1G iPod Touch. It is only 2 years old, it is ridiculous that Apple already considers it obsolete. If I am patient, I expect I may be able to run Android on my iPod. The button problem will be even worse as the original Touch doesn’t have an external volume control. Despite that I’d be happy with anything that let’s me move away from Apple’s closed platform without having to spend a huge chunk of change for a new Android tablet.
planetbeing’s efforts, as primitive as they may be right now, make me feel better about the overwhelming urge towards control Apple has been exhibiting with its peripheral devices. The harder they squeeze, the more they exclude, the greater the desire for hackers to breach the walls, climb over them, or simply do something great all on their own. I should have never doubted by warranty voiding brethren in their desire and ability to disregard closed systems and create such Lamarckian beauties.