Sep 202011

Progressing Better Than Expected

UPDATE October 17, 2011: Android is now running on my HP Touchpad and you can read more about it if you follow the link at the end of this post.

In spite of all recommendations not to buy the HP Touchpad just to run Android on it (because of no guarantees this endeavor will succeed), every now and then I google two words: “Touchpad Android” and the situation keeps improving. Currently it seems very promising.

After the initial success with booting Android OS (without any drivers) on the Touchpad and later enabling the touchscreen operation, there were some discouraging news about the Touchdroid team dissolving after going through some external and internal friction due to not crediting the CyanogenMod guys for their code, disputed (mis)use of donated tablets, etc., but it seems the Cyanogen team keeps chugging along and progressing with something that may make the HP Touchpad with its spanking new dual core hardware perform better than with its original webOS operating system.

This team has been quietly working on porting Android to the Touchpad during the last several weeks (or is it already months?) and you can see how far they have come from one of their members’ video above. At first they were booting up Android almost “blind and deaf” with nothing but the OS working so most people were quite skeptical. However, within a few weeks they enabled the touchscreen, then they fixed the WiFi, enabled the accelerometer, added the 3D video acceleration and fixed the sound, so now they are polishing it and working on the gyroscope, Bluetooth, and other minor details. I also hope speech recognition will work on the Touchpad with Android because I’m so getting used to talking to my devices. I also don’t particularly care about Bluetooth or the gyroscope, but it seems CyanogenMod won’t release their port until it’s fully operational. How about a beta? 🙂

This great work imposes one question: if this port gets to be as successful as promising, shouldn’t HP try to resurrect the Touchpad with Android OS? Running it in pure Google Android vanilla flavor would keep the cost for software development and maintenance minimal for HP and it could possibly keep the price in a very competitive range. It could become one of our favorite Android tablets without the usual manufacturers’ clutter and bloatware most of us can’t stand, and instead it would be a true Google signature tablet. This could be the missing link the Touchpad lacked to compete with the iPad. My recommendation not to go for the HP Touchpad because of Android may change very soon.

UPDATE October 17, 2011: My HP Touchpad is now running Android CyanogenMod 7.1 (alpha version) and you can read more about my experience with it here.

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