N900 hacked to boot Android

January 25, 2010 | 09:53

Tags: #android #hack #hacker #maemo #n900 #smartphone

Companies: #google #nokia

If you still can't decide which high-end smartphone to get - a device such as the Motorola Milestone or HTC Nexus One running Google's Android, or Nokia's powerful N900 running the less popular Maemo 5 OS - a wily hacker might have just made your decision a whole lot easier.

As revealed to the world in a video on his blog - via Ubergizmo - Brandon Roberts has successfully managed to get Nokia's Flagship N900 smartphone booting from its SD card. More specifically, he's got it booting Google's open Android platform.

While the N900 runs the Linux-based Maemo 5 platform - as originally developed for Nokia's range of Internet Tablets, starting with the N770 - Nokia have not locked the system down as much as many rival 'phone manufacturers, allowing hacks such as Roberts' and the launching of alternative operating systems.

Described as a "proof of concept," Roberts has yet to reveal details of how the hack was achieved - but states that the hack is "real and it could be spectacular."

The porting of Android to the N900 brings with it access to Google's App Store, although as an unauthorised device - especially one which stores its data on a removable memory card - it's highly unlikely that Google will authorise hacked N900s to enable paid app purchasing. Despite this, it offers a dual-boot solution for those unable to decide between the two platforms - although how usable the Android boot is on the device, and how complicated the hack to enable booting from an SD card is, remains to be seen.

Do you like the thought of a smartphone that can boot into multiple operating systems, or are you struggling to see the practical applications in Roberts' "proof of concept"? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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