CyanogenMod readied for TouchPad Android release

HP's discounted TouchPad looks set to become an even bigger bargain, with noted Android hacking group CyanogenMod announcing a version of CyanogenMod 7 which brings a near-complete build of Google's software to the device.

While the TouchPad is a capable tablet in its own right - as the review of the cut-price gadget over on our sister site IT Reviews demonstrates - many who were able to snag one before stocks ran dry are eager to see Google's Android platform replace the included webOS operating system.

A move to Android would bring several advantages to the TouchPad, including future-proofing - HP is likely to discontinue development of the consumer-facing parts of webOS in the near future, following its decision to kill off its webOS hardware division - and access to a far larger ecosystem of third-party apps.

Previous attempts to port the platform to the TouchPad have, however, failed to impress. While one team working on the project released an installable build that included multi-touch functionality, it lacked something almost as critical: Wi-Fi support.

A video released by the CyanogenMod team promises to address that issue. In the video, team members show off a TouchPad booting into Google's Android platform, with fully-working Wi-Fi, access to the Android Market, and support for the accelerometer for automatic screen rotation.

The build demonstrated in the video looks near-complete, but there are one or two bugs that need to be addressed before the team releases the software for end users to play with. Perhaps the biggest bug is in the audio support: while the CyanogenMod release shown in the video does support audio playback, it does so rather faster than expected.

Those who are impressed by the team's efforts and eager to get their hands on HP's very-last-we-mean-it-this-time production run of TouchPad tablets have some bad news to contend with, sadly: a leaked email purporting to be from webOS boss Stephen DeWitt to HP staff claims that they will have first refusal of the new TouchPads, starting on the 28th of September.

Any left over once HP staff have had their fill will likely make it to US retail, but at this point it seems unlikely there'll be any left to cover the demand left over from the original sale here in the UK.

If you managed to snag a TouchPad, the video demo of CyanogenMod 7 is embedded below; those who missed out will probably want to look away now.