Forget Samsung's Tab -- run Android on your iPad

November 12, 2010 10:00 AM EST

There's lots of interest in Android out there. But there's also so much love for Apple (AAPL). If only there were a way, some way, in which you could bring a little of each to the other. Good news, dear readers, there's a new hack in town that lets you do just that, and this thing is called OpeniBoot.

OpeniBoot is an open source group dedicated to figuring out the bootrom on iOS devices.

"OpeniBoot is an open source implementation of iBoot for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices. It allows booting of unsigned code such as linux kernels on the device," the developer website explains.

What this means is that OpeniBoot produce tools which allow unsigned code to launch on Apple's devices, which means you can install other operating systems on your device.

On the iPhone, the team has already managed to get Android into the smartphone, in order that users can launch the Android OS when they power-up their phone, if they so desire.

In essence these iOS-supplanting hackers follow a great tradition which runs all the way back to the Whole Earth Catalog, HomeBrew Computer Club and black box phone phreaking along with Cap'n Crunch.

Apple makes such beautiful products. Take the iPad for example -- it is magical, and with hot new competitor the Samsung Tab receiving destined-for-the-grave reviews, wouldn't it be nice to run Android on an iPad, rather than spend your cash on Samsung's not-quite-as-good-as-an-iPad tablet-thing.

[This story is from Computerworld's Apple Holic blog. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

Here's a quote from a recent review of Samsung's Tab attempt.

 "This thing is just a mess. It's like a tablet drunkenly hooked up with a phone, and then took the fetus swimming in a Superfund cleanup site. The browser is miserable, at least when Flash is enabled." Matt Buchanon, Gizmodo.

(Oh, looks like the market's not impressed. Samsung is reported to have cut its planned production by about 50 percent for the Galaxy after poor sales, according to Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, reported here).

Now the OpeniBoot team are working away to help put Android power inside iPad magic. NextWeb reports there's a few photos of the developers work so far available via their Twitter feed, and they've also released a video of OpeniBoot working on an iPad.

Here it is:



Some of you may even wonder how Flash will perform on an iPad? OK, you can try Skyfire and skip the on-device encoding completely, or you will in future be able to install OpeniBoot on your iPad, which will let you run Android on your Apple tablet. And then run Flash on top of that.

Prediction: It will be slow, laggy and sap battery life. But don't listen to me, try it if you like. After all, Adobe needs the support. It has only been several years since they bought Macromedia in order to bring in that company's online and mobile experience, and Flash....

...Which will be why 42 percent of the security patches inside the most recent OS X upgrade were for one product and one product only -- Flash.

C'mon, somewhere down the line, Adobe's got to realise that Flash in its current incarnation just isn't sustainable.

All this Android on iPad goodness is very well, though it does still raise a few questions: What exactly is wrong with Apple's iPad? In what sense might an Android alternative offer a better experience? Where's the actual innovation? And what's the application?

For example, multi-platinum musicians, Damon Albarn's Gorillaz today told NME they've recorded their fourth album entirely on an iPad. Creative device, that netbook replacement, yes?

And, as this video shows, the iPad is also a games console. Link it up to a TV and play a game called The Incident 1.3. You control the game with your iPhone, which links to your iPad. You watch the game on the TV. It is like Wii. It is in development now. I told you Apple was going to end up in the console gaming industry.

Here's the video.