The death and subsequent clearance price on the HP TouchPad has caused developers to rush to the tablet and start hacking it. Can you blame them? It’s a 10″ tablet with a dual core CPU, Wifi, a capacitive touchscreen, and it briefly sold for $99. What’s not to love?
There’s a team of hackers working to port Cyanogen Mod, an open source Android firmware, to the TouchPad. One of the hackers posted an update video yesterday. They have the Wifi working and they even downloaded a couple apps from the Android Market. Angry Birds seems to work rather well. The general responsiveness of the screen is pretty good, too.
But this is still a work in progress. Right now they are only using one of the cores on the TouchPad’s 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and the media player that they demo later in the video pulls half of the CPU cycles. Also, the Youtube app doesn’t work and when you try to watch clip in the browser the video is a little choppy. Clearly it will need some work before this firmware can be released.
They also got the accelerometer working, and that means you can rotate the screen from portrait to landscape simply by changing the orientation of the table. You should also be able to play video games that respond to the accelerometer, but given the current marginal hardware performance that will have to wait.
Cyanogen Mod is an open source firmware that’s being constantly improved and updated. It’s based on Android v2.3 Gingerbread, not Honeycomb (the latest version of Android), because Google haven’t released the firmware yet. It’s got a number of tweaks and hacks so it works better on tablets, and you can find versions of Cyanogen Mod that have been customized for the NookColor,
There’s no word on when the TouchPad firmware will be released to the public and clearly there are some bugs to be worked out. But the progress they’ve made is remarkable.