CM7 on My HP Touchpad, Thoughts and Observations.
A few months ago HP decided that they were getting out of the tablet business, very soon after putting the HP Touchpad on the market. The Touchpad has great hardware, 10″screen, 1.5GHz Dual-core processor combined with a tablet version of webOS. When the choice was made to axe the Touchpad, HP initiated a firesale of the tablet. The tablet was put on sale one weekend for $99, yes $99. Of course the web went crazy with sites overselling their supply of the Touchpad right and left. After the sale the Android modding community did what it does, worked day and night to get Android working on the Touchpad. The tablet has many of the same internals as some HTC tablets so the thought was porting over Android would be possible. Weeks went by and I found myself really liking webOS. It is very easy to learn and intuitive to use. However the big problem with the OS is the sound you hear when you open up the market, crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling. The webOS market is a ghost town and one of the things that excited me most about an Android port was access to the Android Market. Finally the CM7 team had an Alpha version of Android 2.3 ready. Their plan was to get 2.3 running smoothly first then make the jump to Honeycomb. So when the Alpha version of CM7 dropped I flashed it on my Touchpad, this is not a hard process, you have to download some files and run one command on your terminal emulator and watch it happen. After using it for a week here are some thoughts.
Booting up for the first time allowed me to see one of the coolest features of this port, dual-boot. Yes, you can boot the Touchpad up into either webOS or Cyanogen. Very cool CM7 team! When the tablet booted I was greeted with a very familiar site, CM7′s skateboarding Android was smiling at me! With this release being alpha I was nervous about what do expect, however I am here to tell you I should not have been! I did experience a few force closes and some apps do not work, there is a list here over at Rootzwiki. However Gmail works, Google Plus works as does notifications, the Market works just fine, many games download and run smoothly. Live wallpapers scroll smoothly, the browser works great, and when i first downloaded CM7 Skype and the front facing camera did not work. However a work around has been found that allows it to work on the first version of Alpha, one caveat-later updates to Alpha break your camera from working. So yes there are some things that do not work, however I am more than willing to put up with that for of the things that do! Just to have access to the Android Market I find myself using this tablet way more than I ever did when it had webOS. With Pulse for my news, Plus and Seesmic bringing in my Facebook and Twitter I feel like I have a damn halfway decent Android tablet for $99!!
Now I know some of you are looking at these screenshots and saying that just looks like a big Android phone, I have already received many comments to this effect on Google Plus. Yes aesthetically it is not Honeycomb. However that is not the point I am trying to make here. The Android community has come together to port Android to a tablet that was never supposed to have Android on it( although there have been rumored ones that shipped with Android from the factory). Getting CM7 installed was just the first step, and it was not even out a week and Alpha 2 dropped bringing about bug fixes such as fixing the battery drain issues, more working Market apps, WiFi hangup issues are ironed out. While I am on that topic if you download the first Alpha as soon as it boots to Cyanogen you must go to settings and turn Wifi sleep to never, another issues I encountered is when I plug-in my Touchpad to my Touchstone dock the tablet attempts to reboot into webOS. This issue has been fixed with Alpha 2 however. Below is a gallery of screenshots that also include some Quadrant tests I ran. If after reading this you want to take the plunge (and I totally recommend it!) you can watch the video walk through I included below. Please take a minute and sound off in the comments and let us know what you think after you flash it. Remember this will void your HP warranty and please do so at your own risk! Good luck and happy flashing people!!!