iDroid: not quite there yet

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Today I finally got round to trying out the first-ever release from the iDroid project. Having previously visited its status website, my expectations weren’t really that great. Still, I’ve been left unsatisfied.

First off, my iDevice is an aged (but supported) 1st generation iPod Touch, which might have hindered my experience somewhat. However, most of the issues I’ve come across affect newer devices too.

The installation, although involving quite a few steps, proved to be pretty straightforward. One just has to bear in mind that the tools provided require a 32-bit Linux distribution in order to work.

Disappointments began as soon as I booted Android for the first time. It took ages before the system’s logo appeared on the screen, and then another few decades before the desktop loaded. Not a good omen at all.

And sure enough, the system was anything but responsive. Changing workspaces was like watching a slideshow and basically everything worked as though in slow motion. Turning off all eye candy alleviated the sluggishness a bit, but the speed was far from acceptable nonetheless.

Only later did I discover that there’s currently no GPU and PMU support. As a result the battery lasts only about 2 hours and the device overheats, thus rendering iDroid 1.0 MoJo unsuitable for day-to-day use.

On the plus side, the touchscreen and SD card emulation worked well and I didn’t have any trouble with the applications that could be expected to run on an iPod Touch. I gave up on testing the Wi-Fi and sound though, and these areas seem to be rather problematic.

All in all, iDroid is nowhere near being ready for prime time yet. Nevertheless, the 1.0 release was meant to facilitate testing of the project’s codebase, not to substitute iOS. That said, the developers really deserve much kudos for bringing Android to iDevices — thats’s no mean feat, by any standards.

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