Hey HP, we know you're new to the Android game, so here's a tip: if you've got a hot new piece of hardware, the absolute worst time to announce it is a few hours before Google I/O. That said, the new SlateBook x2 might garner some interest thanks to its internals alone - it's one of the first devices after NVIDIA's own Shield to use the Tegra 4 SoC. Throw in a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 screen and a very familiar-looking keyboard dock, and you've got the makings of a serious competitor. Well, you might, if it weren't for the high price tag and cheap-looking build.
If only there was an affordable, powerful, and well-supported 7" Android tablet out there. Oh wait, there is exactly that. But HP thinks there is room for a cheaper, moderately worse tablet. So, meet the Slate 7. It's not bad looking at all; actually, I quite like how HP's designed this thing. It feels pretty nice (the back is a sort of brushed matte plastic), and is relatively light. Most of the niceness stops there, though.
While the Slate 7 does perform decently, it is noticeably slower than a Nexus 7 even in basic UI navigation tasks (thank that 1.6GHz dual-core processor), and that's really just the tip of the drawback iceberg.
After the failure of the Touchpad, HP basically had three options if it wanted to get back in the consumer tablet game: Windows RT, Android, or another stab at WebOS. HP allegedly threw out plans for Windows RT hardware in June of last year, and WebOS is an open source husk of itself that hasn't been acknowledged by the company in months. This new rumor seems to confirm it's Android or bust for any new HP slates, at least for the time being.
The AT&T Galaxy SII (i777) isn't the only Android device getting official CyanogenMod 9 nightly love today, as the first nightlies just went live for the HP TouchPad (codename tenderloin) and the LG Nitro HD (codename p930, also known as LG Optimus LTE on Bell Canada).
It could oftentimes be unstable and not properly tested, lacking any changelogs, but eventually evolving into alphas, betas, release candidates, and finally stable releases.
Remember back when an HP Touchpad was spotted running Android out of the box? Well, it would appear that after some cajoling, the CM team (in association with an attorney) have convinced HP to release the Touchpad's Android kernel source, along with a couple of other GPL components specifically modified for Android-powered Touchpads accidentally released to the wild. In addition to the kernel, HP released code to androidvncserver and i2c-tools. The only thing missing, according to Green (part of the CM team), is the Wi-Fi driver. Green explains this in an announcement on the RootzWiki forums:
The CyanogenMod team recently teased us with a video of CM9 running on the Touchpad and now it looks like their efforts have culminated in the first Alpha ("Alpha 0") release of CM9 for the WebOS tablet.
The earlier CM7 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 builds were quite buggy and not really ready for primetime use, but the latest CM9 release is a whole "*two* CyanogenMods better", bringing Ice Cream Sandwich goodness to the Touchpad. However, CM9 is still Alpha 0, which means "'zero hardware-accelerated video', 'zero camera', and 'zero support!'". In addition, the audio "is a mess", the microphone does not work, market filters prevent some apps from being installed, Titanium Backup crashes the kernel, some older hardware problems from CM7 still exist, and traditional storage mounting is not supported.
If you happen to own an HP TouchPad and have been waiting patiently for a proper Android port, you'll be overjoyed to see a sneak peek of what CM9 brings to the table. If you recall our announcements for the CM7 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 builds, you probably remember an overwhelming indication that neither build was all too stable, and running them was not for the faint of heart. Alpha 3 is a bit better, but still has a laundry list of issues. A lot of things don't work, or only work intermittently, which makes it very difficult to use for the average consumer.
Just six days after The CyanogenMod (CM) team released the first alpha build for the TouchPad, they're back with alpha 2. Despite being bumped up a version, it's still an alpha, meaning there are many things that can (and likely will) go wrong. Still, it looks like they've made quite a few improvements with the update:
(AKA things we hope we fixed)
* Plugging headphones in should now shut off speaker volume
* Battery drain issues have been (partially) addressed
* More apps now available in market (thanks to Flemmard)
* Temporarily removed suspect fsck_msdos to fix random folder deletion on media/sdcard.
Soon after HP started their TouchPad fire sale, a version of the device running Android 2.2 appeared on eBay and went on to sell for almost $700. Hopes for an Android port were high and the developer community swung into action offering a $2300 bounty for anyone who could load Android on the TouchPad. The CyanogenMod team, Android developers extraordinaire, did not disappoint and soon the news broke that they had managed to successfully get Android running on the TouchPad. Over the next few weeks the CM team made a number of tweaks to the various hardware and software components of the HP TouchPad, including GPU acceleration, Wi-Fi, Sound, Accelerometer, 3D Games, and video acceleration to ensure that CM7 worked smoothly.
The HP TouchPad Android port has been a fascinating journey to follow. Last we spoke of the device, Team CM showed off multitouch and GPU acceleration; and, since then, great strides have been made in the way of the port. Basically everything works as it should now, including Wi-Fi, sound, the accelerometer, 3D games, and video acceleration.
While everything appears to be running smoothly, Team CM reminds us that this is still a closed alpha build and it's not quite ready for the masses, as "things still aren't as reliable as [they'd] like."
For more information on the status of the project, check out this thread over at RootzWiki.