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Linux developers have managed to get Google's Android OS running on an iPhone, providing an open OS for the most closed of platforms.

The Linux On The iPhone blog has been mucking about with booting utilities and drivers for a while, but can now demonstrate a duel-boot iPhone that will switch between Apple and Google at a power cycle. The blog also provides code, with minimal documentation, for the more intrepid hobbyist who fancies having a go.

The project only works on older iPhones at the moment, though the developers don't see any particular difficulties in supporting more recent handsets. The video shows web browsing, music playback, SMS messaging and phone calls - comprehensive functionality even if a few bugs remain and the lack of buttons makes navigation cumbersome.

But minor issues aside it seems a surprisingly workable platform, even if the developers refer to it as "alpha quality".

One might wonder why you would want to run Android on Apple's hardware, other than the joy of the challenge itself, but perhaps you really like Flash animations, or want to listen to Ogg-encoded music, and happen to like the iPhone's form factor.

Apple certainly won't be amused - part of the point of an iPhone is that they are all the same; if you've used one iPhone then the next one you pick up will be identical. The same can't be said of Android or any other competitor.

Whether Cupertino bothers to do anything about it will depend on how many people download it, how stable the development gets, and how many donations the developers receive - though we can't help wondering if Google might not slip them a few quid, just for laughs. ®

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