Android on the HP TouchPad the plot thickens

first_imgHundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in search of a $99 TouchPad, as though it were forbidden fruit of some kind. Now that they have it, there’s a question boiling up through all of the social networks that yearns to be answered: Can we put Android on this thing?While I am inclined to agree with a previous commenter that installing Android on the TouchPad is mildly akin to ripping up the hardwood floor in your home to install laminate, the call of “because I can” will not be ignored. So, the TouchPad team soldiers on, despite some significant setbacks recently, and prepares to announce Android on the TouchPad once it is ready. In the mean time, however, there are some really interesting questions surrounding this whole plot. Seemingly cloak and dagger-esque operations that have been going on that leads this writer to wonder just how significant Android on the TouchPad will actually be.The Qualcomm InitiativeWhen a device surfaced on YouTube a few days ago with a TouchPad running Android 2.2.1 as the star of the show, there were plenty of questions. The thing that legitimized that video in the end was the bootsplash from Qualcomm’s internal developer group. Qualcomm clearly had a vested interest in having Android running on TouchPad-like hardware, and they accomplished exactly that. I speculated in a previous article why this might have happened, but there’s still nothing to explain how this device got into the hands of a consumer, since it appears to be new in box with the original wrapping on it.That was a strange and seemingly random thing to have happen once, so imagine what happens when three more TouchPad’s show up with the same story. All three of the other devices have the same Qualcomm bootsplash, same version of Android and the same build numbers. They all started in the same place, Qualcomm. Oddly enough, though, none of them were purchased in the same place. An online purchase, two completely different Best Buy stores, and a Wal-Mart were all victims of the same unchecked distribution.The good news is that if any of the developers working on TouchDroid get their hands on one of these devices, getting functional builds to a normal TouchPad would be ridiculously easy. If this happens, it will be possible to have tablet-friendly build of Android such as CyanogenMod to the Touchpad before Ice Cream Sandwich is released. After the source code for the next version of Android is released, putting it on the TouchPad would be just as simple.Fragmented OS, Fragmented community, Fragmented resultsOne of my favorite things about the WebOS community is the feeling of organization. For a small group, they have survived by working together and accomplishing a truly significant amount things since WebOS was conceived. The Android community has no such feeling of organization. In many ways, the Android ecosystem is as fragmented as the OS is accused of being. Currently, there are multiple groups on multiple sites working on Android for the TouchPad, some of while even have cash bounties posted for the teams that are successful.  The motivation formed by this kind of competition has yielded positive results in the past, but I can’t help but think back to the origins of this device, and if this kind of thing would have happened in the WebOS community to encourage developers.Currently, the infamous XDA-Developers have teamed up to offer a $2,150 bounty for delivering a finished product to the masses. The bounty is broken out based on individual accomplishments, ranging from simply porting Android to getting the wifi and camera functional. As these things are accomplished, the results will be published and any user with the know-how will be able to do these things on their personal TouchPad. The lang term hope is that this results in a simple to use solution that ports completely functional versions of Android to the TouchPad.Android will happen for the TouchPad, at this point it can’t not. However, there’s a pretty long list of questions regarding how long it will take and how functional it will be, to determine if it will even be worth it in the end. In the end, however, it really just depends on how strong the urge to accomplish goal “because I can” is. In the meantime, Geek.com will keep following the story as it develops.last_img

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