HP TouchPad Gets Early Build of Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

A CM10 Preview of the OS has been ported to the HP tablet, but there are gaping holes in the functionality, according to testers.

Hewlett-Packard€™s ill-fated TouchPad tablet may had only a brief shining moment as a webOS device, but Google€™s Android operating system is breathing new life into the system.

Since its quick demise as a webOS tablet last year, the TouchPad found new attention from Android users after first Android 2.3 Gingerbread and then Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich were ported to the device. Now an early version of Android 4.1, dubbed Jelly Bean, reportedly is finding its way to the TouchPad, ahead of other devices, including Google€™s own Nexus 7.

However, those TouchPads with the early build of Jelly Bean have a laundry list of features and capabilities that need to be added. The Android 4.1 seen on the 9.7-inch TouchPads is currently a CyanogenMode 10 (CM10) build. An unofficial CM10 Preview was posted on XDA Developers by forum member with the handle €œJcsullins.€

According to testers at Liliputing, the mic, camera and audio on the Jelly Bean-based TouchPads don€™t work, and the hardware video and graphics acceleration aren't working well either. They also said they€™d heard of some reports of the TouchPad being unable to charge properly after getting the CM10 Jelly Bean build, though they hadn€™t had problems with the charging.

€œIn other words, you can€™t really use the TouchPad to listen to music, stream movies from Netflix or YouTube, or play most 3D games yet,€ the Liliputing review said. €œBut you do get some of the improvements in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean including a smoother, faster user interface, notification improvements, and a more accurate keyboard.€

Discussion on the XDA Developer site centered around what was and wasn€™t working on the Jelly Bean-based TouchPads, and whether to jump on board now or wait on Google.

€œI think i'll wait until it€™s a little more stable and things are working a bit better before i try this,€ said one poster, dubbed €œmafu6.€ €œGreat to know it's in development though for the HP Touchpad. I thought it might have stopped at CM9 for us Touchpad users.€

Those wanting to give the CM10 port of Android 4.1 a shot can go to the XDA Developers Website to download and install it.

The TouchPad had a brief time on the market€”only a matter of months last year€”but HP€™s decision to drop the price from as high as $499 down to $99 to dump the inventory made it, briefly, a hot-selling device that has seemed to keep some of its resonance. HP CEO Meg Whitman, who came to the company after her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, launched and then dumped the TouchPad, told one Website in December 2011 that HP could still revive the webOS-based TouchPad.

However, HP officials later said they were going to give webOS to the open-source community this year. The company inherited the operating system in 2010 when it bought Palm for $1.2 billion. HP executives believed the operating system would enable the company to build webOS-based tablets and smartphones that would rival Apple€™s iPhones and iPads. Apotheker also talked about webOS running on other devices, including desktops and notebooks.

However, those ideals quickly fell by the wayside: a month after launching the TouchPad in 2011, Apotheker canceled the effort and offered the remaining tablets at increasingly low prices. He also ended HP€™s nascent webOS smartphone plans. Soon after those decisions, Apotheker€™s 11-month tenure as HP€™s CEO ended when he was asked by the board of directors to resign.