TouchPad owners waiting patiently for a working port of Google's Android platform to HP's cut-price tablet should start getting excited: the CyanogenMod team has released the first public alpha of their efforts.
CyanogenMod - a third-party, enhanced hack of Android 2.3 'Gingerbread' - is now available to download and install on any HP TouchPad device, where it can sit alongside the default webOS operating system in harmony. At least, that's the idea - but, unfortunately, things aren't quite so simple.
Described as the 'Lower Your Expectations Edition,' the early alpha technically works but isn't for the faint-hearted. "You are encouraged NOT to install this software," warns project member dalingrin, "as the alpha is only a test version and as stated above, there is no claim that it is fit for any purpose.
"You may experience issues ranging from the benign to the very serious, including potential data leakage, and/or permanent loss of data, and even the possible 'bricking' or permanent disabling of your device. Or worse. It can't be emphasized enough how risky its use may be. Try it entirely at your own risk and with full understanding of the potential for problems and acceptance of any consequences that may result."
Described as "the start of a process, not the end," the early release demonstrates the current state of the porting project. While much of the functionality is ready for use - including full use of the TouchPad's dual-core processor, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, GPU acceleration for 3D content and even support for charging from a HP TouchStone inductive charging stand - there are likely to be plenty of pitfalls waiting to ensare the unwary.
An in-depth guide is available on Android rooting site RootzWiki (opens in new tab), detailing the installation of the CyanogenMod port and what to do should the process go wrong - but even with such backup, it's a risky move.
For most users, waiting for a more final release would be advised. For those willing to take the risk, however, the RootzWiki document details the installation process and includes links to download the files.
Below is a video of a project contributor running the alpha on a retail TouchPad, and while the process is far from simple it's currently the only way to get a more-or-less complete build of Android on your TouchPad.