One of the major reasons for a number of people buying the HP TouchPad tablet during its firesale a few months ago was for the possibility of turning it into an Android device in the future, and with the latest update from the CyanogenMod folks, that is suddenly a reality.
The CyanogenMod team have done a fantastic job of shoe-horning Android onto the WebOS device, and since the release of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich source code, things have developed apace. For the last few weeks, those brave enough to try out the impressively stable pre-Alpha release have had a nearly fully functioning Android tablet in their hands, but it lacked support for the camera and hardware acceleration for video playback. With today’s Alpha 1, hardware video playback had been enabled, which means the device will playback 720p and 1080p videos locally with ease, and YouTube HD is no problem at all – and the device suddenly becomes a very good Android tablet in its own right.
The hardware of the TouchPad has never been at fault with its dual-core 1.5GHz CPU and responsive and bright screen, but without hardware video decoding, the device could not compete with those no the market today as an all purpose device. Now it can, and that £75 spent now looks like an even better bargain.
This may be only the first real Alpha release of ICS for the TouchPad, and it is built using the 2.6.35 kernel rather than the latest 3.0, and NetFlix support is still a work in progress, but all most people will notice is that the device now just works, and from all reports the stability is more like a late beta release.