CyanogenMod’s latest HP TouchPad Android video shows WiFi, Android Market

HP TouchPad Angry Birds Rio

The CyanogenMod team has posted a new video showing the progress developers have been making in porting Google Android to run on the 9.7 inch tablet. We’ve already seen the benchmarks to show that Android performance is pretty good on the tablet, but now we can also see that CyanogenMod has come a long way since the team’s last video — when Android already looked pretty good on the TouchPad.

Update 10/13: Many of the bugs mentioned in this post have been fixed, and the folks at CyanogenMod have released an alpha build of their Android software for the HP TouchPad. 

Major updates include support for WiFi, basic audio support, and limited support for the Google Android Market (although it looks a little funky on a 1024 x 768 pixel display).

HP TouchPad Android Market

The accelerometer is also now working, which means you can automatically rotate the screen simply by changing the position of the tablet from portrait to landscape or vice versa. You can also play video games that use the tablet’s motion-sensing hardware.

Not everything is working perfectly just yet though.

While the HP TouchPad has a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, it’s only using one of those cores in this latest demo — and there’s a mediaserver app which is using most of the CPU cycles. The CyanogenMod team is working on those problems.

Update 9/20: The developers have fixed a bug and are now have audio working with both CPU cores enabled. The team has also posted another video showing HD video and 3D gaming capabilities.

There are also still some applications that don’t work. For instance, the official YouTube app doesn’t work, but you can use a web browser to watch videos from the online video site — but playback is still a little choppy.

CyanogenMod 7 is a custom Android distribution based on Google’s source code for Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It includes some tweaks for tablets, but the team won’t be upgrading to Android 3.2 Honeycomb anytime soon, since the source code isn’t available. Instead they’re waiting for Google to release the code for Ice Cream Sandwich, the first version of Android designed to run on both phones and tablets.

In the meantime, Gingerbread has a few key advantages over the webOS 3.0 software that originally shipped on HP’s tablet. First, there are hundreds of thousands of third party apps that can run on Gingerbread, compared with about 6,000 apps for webOS — and that includes high quality eBook readers and other apps that are sorely missing for webOS.

When running webOS, the TouchPad can also feel a little sluggish at times. When surfing the web, the tablet seems to fly. But I’ve spent a fair amount of time waiting while launching applications or flipping between apps that are already open.

HP has also discontinued production of webOS hardware, and while the company has promised to keep the operating system alive by looking for partners to license webOS for their phones, tablets, or other devices, it’s not really clear at this point how frequently we’ll see new software updates or third party apps for the platform. So installing Android (even an unofficial version without support form HP) could help make the tablet more useful and provide some hope of future (and equally unofficial) software updates and improvements.

The CyanogenMod 7 team won’t be releasing their Android port for the HP TouchPad to the public until some more of the kinks are worked out. But progress the team is making is pretty remarkable.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the great article and update!  If I may ask though, what is the “high quality eBook readers” app you refer to as sorely missing in your 3rd paragraph?  The HP Touchpad already comes with Kindle free (as well as other e-readers), so I know it is not that.  Which e-reader app do you recommend and how is it higher quality than kindle app?  

    • Brad Linder

      The kindle app doesn’t support books not purchased from amazon, pReader has limited support for tablets, and there are no apps that support books from public libraries, B&N or other stores that use Adobe DRM.

      • Brad Linder

        Oh, and apps for Android with some or all of those features include Aldiko, Bluefire, Moon+, OverDrive, etc…

      • Arbeta2005

        As a long time Linux user, I was super-happy to see fbreader was ported to Android.

      • Anonymous

        HP has its own reader app,HPreader, coming in the next update. It may solve some problems…

    • Martin Macdonald

      not in the UK though!

      • rkl

        Yeah, the fact that HP/Amazon haven’t released the Amazon Kindle app for UK users, but have for US users is nothing short of disgraceful. I ended up using Preware’s Impostah to temporarily re-register my TouchPad as a US device, grabbed the Kindle app and then reverted it back to UK one.

        And, yes, I can use the “US” Kindle app perfectly with Amazon UK’s e-books for the Kindle on my UK TouchPad, so the lack of a UK Kindle app for the TouchPad is even more perplexing!

        Anyway, back to the Android port – it’s great to see the progress they’re making, but the fact that it’s “almost there” is now making me wonder why we can’t at least have a alpha release now? I hope it doesn’t get bogged down for months on one or two features that Cyanogen will insist have to work perfectly before a release is forthcoming.

        I think the main thing left is a dual boot system – with that available, even if Android is in an alpha state, we can always boot back into weBOS and wait for the next alpha/beta release.

  • Chriswilson1976

    Its amazing that they have got so far in such a short space of time, i cant wait to port Android across. Am loving my tablet without Android installed so i will be even more impressed with it.

  • Phil grahm Salt

    Indeed, there are many ways to improve innovations in phone and computer technology and by far, computer and telecoms have really suceeded in their undertakings.
    tech support

  • Lucianos

    comprei um e não vejo a hora de ter o Android disponivel

    os apps da hp pagos não funcionam no Brazil

  • Altu64

    This is very encouraging.  My touchpad with all those android apps will become extremely useful.

  • Shawncode

    it is available I installed it last friday !  Its awesome although sometimes it will drop my wifi