Devs port Jelly Bean to HTC Dream, the first ever Android smartphone

It's a neat synergy of retro and cutting-edge technology - the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, 4.1 Jelly Bean, running on the first-ever Android smartphone, 2008's HTC Dream (also known in some regions as the T-Mobile G1).

It may sound like a fictitious port, but a video posted by the SoCal Devs group on the XDA Developers forum (top) demonstrating Jelly Bean running on the near-Neolithic handset looks legitimate.

As one would expect, operation is far from perfect on the Dream: mobile data doesn't work, nor does the screen rotation function. Overall, Android 4.1 performs abysmally slowly on the geriatric blower, but much of Jelly Bean's functionality looks like it works at least passably, including the touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and even parts of Google Now.

In other words, if your four-year-old device is imbued with the kind of sentimentality normally reserved for Julia Roberts films and you just can't see yourself parting with it, it appears to be possible to forcibly drag it into the present century, even if the process is akin to turbo-charging a Zimmer frame.

The Jelly Bean-to-Dream port is the latest unlikely installation of the new Android OS. At the beginning of the week, another XDA Developers forum member posted a video showing Android 4.1 running on an HP TouchPad tablet - again with some difficulty.

Still, it does beg the question as to how relative amateurs can update archaic devices with the latest Android iteration when it's taking mobile phone manufacturers donkey's years to offer Jelly Bean on their handsets.

Is Jelly Bean a legitimate upgrade option for people clinging on to medieval devices? Or do these ports amount to little more than a novelty act, existing largely to show off the skills of hacking hobbyists? As ever, ITProPortal wants to hear your views.