Aftermarket firmware distributor CyanogenMod has released an alpha version Android port for the now discontinued HP TouchPad tablet after almost two months of development.
CyanogenMod’s team of expert software hackers pushes the Android Open Source Project to its extremes by coming up with customized Android firmware that can be ported to various different devices. A notable earlier CyanogenMod hack was porting Android 2.3, Gingerbread to Barnes and Nobles’ Nook Color, but many had been clamoring for the crew to work its magic on the TouchPad, which natively runs HP’s WebOS platform.
CyanogenMod 7.1 does just that, though the development team is quick to point out that the release is not final and still contains some bugs, meaning any brave soul daring to try it out runs the risk of bricking or breaking their tablet altogether. CyanogenMod warns early adopters that the risks involved range from “the benign to the very serious,” and it’s also worth noting that it voids the warranty, though that‘s unlikely to deter most enthusiastic tinkerers.
When it does work according to plan, however, the hack ports Android 2.3, Gingerbread and a whole host of other features to the tablet, including GPU acceleration,1080p video playback, Wifi (with caveats), Bluetooth (without a headset profile), Touchstone dock support and Audio.
It also allows for the accessing of webOS files from Android and vice versa, adds power management, battery reporting, multiboot, and fast switch boot, along with that all important Touchscreen support which has been crucially missing in previous attempts to port the software.
CyanogenMod says the initial installation is done on a custom installer called the Alpha CyanogenMod Experimental Installer, or “ACMEInstaller”. That installer resizes the WebOS media volume to make room for Android and then goes on to create three new volumes: cm-system, cm-cache, and cm-data.
Cleverly, CyanogenMod has made it so that the /sdcard storage found in typical Android handsets becomes the WebOS media volume, allowing users to easily share media between WebOS and Android.
Some of the issues with the alpha version, already known to the CyanogenMod team, include a higher than normal battery drain, an only partially working camera, some app compatibility issues and more. If problems get too serious, however, the team notes HP's WebOS doctor tool remains accessible with the Android port and can wipe the system clean in the event of a serious issue.
Those interested in taking a look at the kernel source can do so here, and CyanogenMod says it welcomes developers to submit patches for review at http://review.cyanogenmod.com.
“The rest of the device source will be released as soon as some changes to support the MSM8660 architecture can be merged into mainline CyanogenMod 7,” said a note on the website adding “This is expected to happen in fairly short order.”
I'm so glad we have tech heroes like you to test out the alphas, Rob! I have a TouchPad at home, but honestly, I was too much of a sissy to try out this version...
Please keep us posted on the updates! I'm glad the Alpha 2 fixed the battery life issue a bit, because it's not like the TouchPad has the best battery life as it is!
Using CM on touchpad for a few days now.
Aside from the Wifi occasionally getting disabled during sleep (forcing you to disable/reenable from the notification screen) and the CPU minimum speed issue, it really feels more like a beta than an alpha.
They really have done a top-notch job!
In fact, I've just upgraded to Alpha2, which fixes these two (and more) issues, as well as improving battery life. Will see how it goes.
I've been following their progress, as I'm very interested in cyanogenizing my hp tablet. I have reasonable confidence in the cyanogen "product" since I'm already running it on my android phone, replacing the carrier's original crippled firmware. Still, I think I'll wait for the beta version before I completely jump ship on this one.
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