Just wanted to make this post as a public thank you and props to the team behind CyanogenMod, the Android customization and tweaking team. I’ve had my Nexus One for going on two years and have never felt the need to root it or to install a custom ROM, of course I’ve known of CM and have admired them from afar…it’s just that with a google experience phone I haven’t felt the need to go the custom ROM route. A few months ago, with the acquisition of a discontinued HP Touchpad tablet, I started paying more attention to what CM was up to.
There were a few groups working on porting Android to the Touchpad, but of course there was never any question about who would make it happen…Team CM. A while back (a week or two) CM released their first release for the Touchpad, an alpha version of Gingerbread (Honeycomb is not opensource so it is off limits to the hacking community [bad google]). My first instinct was to wait for the beta release, but the limits of WebOS became too much to bear and I decided to give it a shot. First I had to make sure it was doable from Linux and thanks to HPs embracing of the mod community I soon confirmed that it was in fact doable. I found some easy to follow instructions and set to work. In less than an hour I had the Touchpad booted into Android complete with a functioning Android Market.
Two out of the three games that I’ve tried worked flawlessly and I’ve only had one other app not work (this of the 25 or so that I’ve installed). My favorite Android keyboard is Swiftkey X, but they have a separate version for tablets and it is $5, a bit much for a utility in my opinion (I missed it being on sale at Amazon for $1.99), so after a bit of hunting I found a great alternative in Thumb Keyboard 4, it is $2.53 in the Android Market, I got a free copy some time back from Amazon. It is amazingly customizable and quite serviceable.
The CM team had lots of caveats when they released this, it is called an Alpha release and is clearly labeled the “low expectations” release. With that said, I am amazed how nice it is. I have had a few app crashes but never the OS itself. It is fast, faster than WebOS, and it supports most of the hardware contained in the Touchpad (everything that I use is supported). The two biggest gotchas that I have noted is that wireless has to be cycled off and on to get it to connect after sleep and energy consumption leaves a lot to be desired. The first issue I’ve read has already been fixed for the next release and the second is actively being worked on. So, once again, a big public kudos to the CM Team.