Android for TouchPad closer with Wi-Fi

A new team of modders has been able to install Android on Hewlett-Packard's discontinued TouchPad tablet, getting the device's Wi-Fi, sound and accelerometer working correctly in the ported operating system and demonstrating that applications from the Android Marketplace can be downloaded and installed.

A new team of modders has been able to install Android on Hewlett-Packard's discontinued TouchPad tablet, getting the device's Wi-Fi, sound and accelerometer working correctly in the ported operating system and demonstrating that applications from the Android Marketplace can be downloaded and installed.

(Credit: CBSi)

Team Cyanogen, which creates aftermarket firmware for smartphones, said on the RootzWiki discussion page that its primary motivation behind the project was to create a properly working Android port that could be dual-booted alongside other operating systems such as webOS. It is first focusing on Android's Gingerbread build and plans to move to the Ice Cream Sandwich flavour once it is released.

In addition to the TouchPad's Wi-Fi, sound and accelerometer, the team has already been able to get its USB host-mode, multi-touch and graphics acceleration working. In a recent proof-of-concept video, the team demonstrated the tablet connecting to a Wi-Fi access point, downloaded Angry Birds Rio from the Android Market and playing a game, rotated the screen to test the accelerometer, and played a game of Labyrinth Lite to show the accelerometer's sensitivity.

The team also ran through some tests to see what the performance of the tablet was like. It turned out to be a little lower than they would have hoped, due to the device running only on one of its two cores and an application taking up 50 per cent of its processing power.

Not all hardware features are functioning yet, with the team trying to get the TouchPad's Bluetooth, gyroscope, compass and camera working. Additionally, there is no battery reporting feature and the YouTube application from the Android Marketplace isn't working. However, users can navigate to YouTube from the built-in browser as a workaround.

The team said it wasn't financially motivated, stating that it would donate any "bounty" it received to a charity. Yet, it wasn't sure when the project would be complete since it couldn't predict any future complexities and, because of that, its number one rule was that it would not respond to queries about timelines.

The mod follows a similar effort by another group of modders, called Touchdroid, that had the same aim of porting Android to the TouchPad. Touchdroid disbanded following accusations that the team had stolen Cyanogen's code to get the multi-touch functionality working.

In chat logs leaked on Pastebin, one of the members of Touchdroid wrote, "Well, I'm not going to say [how], but we got CM's TouchPad code ... now it's a matter of getting it [to] work then re-coding it to look no like the same code so we can release". Cyanogen's earlier videos also make a mention to the theft of code.

The move to put Android on HP's tablet comes after the company announced that it would discontinue webOS-powered devices, and retailers in the US, Canada and Australia sold the devices at discounted prices. Australian retailer Harvey Norman sold most of its stock in one afternoon after discounting the device to just under $100.