HP's TouchPad gets an Android port

An almost-but-not-quite version of Android for the HP TouchPad tablet has been detailed by the CyanogenMod team, as a rival modding team disbands amidst claims of plagiarism.

CyanogenMod - the founder of which has recently been hired by Samsung to improve the Android implementation on its own devices - has claimed to have a nearly fully-functional build of Android 2.3.5 'Gingerbread' for HP's bargain-basement tablet.

The TouchPad became a must-have item when HP dropped the price to just £89 following its decision to deep-six its entire webOS hardware division in order to concentrate on enterprise software products.

Although it's a tempting tablet in its own right, featuring a powerful Flash- and HTML5-capable web browser and some clever cloud integration features, the news that teams were working on porting Google's Android to the device sparked a buying rush unlike anything we've seen since the launch of Apple's iPad.

The ROM detailed by CyanogenMod this week includes many of the features that users will need from a TouchPad Android instlalation: the capacitive multi-touch display is fully operational and the GPU is accessible for hardware video acceleration.

Sadly, it also comes with a few omissions that the team will need to solve if its wants to have a chance of walking away with the cash prize for the most fully-functional Android implementation on the TouchPad. Not only does the hardware 'home' button not work yet, but - rather more seriously - the Wi-Fi networking isn't operational.

While Android on the TouchPad will make it an exceptionally capable device - thanks largely to a speedy 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that can be comfortably overclocked to 1.5GHz or even 1.7GHz and a hefty 1GB of RAM - without a network connection it's almost completely useless. That's something of which CyanogenMod is acutely aware, and work continues to get Wi-Fi operational on the TouchPad.

It's work that the team will be carrying out almost single-handedly, following the closure of a rival effort dubbed TouchDroid after it was discovered to be plagiarising code from the CyanogenMod project.

The TouchDroid team grabbed headlines with the first version of Android to fully support the TouchPad's multi-touch display, but was forced to admit that it had stolen the code from a Pastebin posting belonging to the CyanogenMod team without attribution following the posting of chatlog evidence to the team's forum.

"The code for our touchscreen driver was found on a public pastebin which was believed to be from team CM by some of our team members," admitted team member and project site host fnj00. "This was later proven by team CM as well as other publicly posted channel logs. Some team members decided to use this code against team CM and not publicly credit CM team for this release, which was wrong."

With TouchDroid out of the running, it would appear that nothing but time and effort stands between CyanogenMod and the prize for Android on the HP TouchPad.

As a parting gift, TouchDroid has supplied a system dump from an Android-enabled TouchPad for more enthusiastic users to install on their own devices. If you want to try the - unsupported, barely tested, try-at-your-own risk - build for yourself, it's available from the TouchDroid site.