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09 February 2012, 16:42

HP releases Android kernel source for TouchPad tablet

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Zoom The developers plan to use the source from HP to further their Android port for the TouchPad tablet
HP has given a group of developers the Android kernel source and other GPL licensed components that the company created for its TouchPad tablet. The release of the source code comes after pressure from the developer community to make the code public following the accidental release of a few TouchPads running Google's open source Android mobile operating system – the tablet was only officially sold with WebOS. Some had speculated that HP had created the Android port as a "plan B" operating system.

But it now appears that the Android code was in fact used for factory testing TouchPad hardware by the firm that manufactured the devices. Bootstrapping devices with specially created test operating systems is a common practice, especially when the production lines are being built before there is a complete version of the official operating system for the device. The Android-running TouchPads which arrived with customers would have been devices which missed being re-flashed with the final operating system.

The developers plan to use their newly acquired code to help with their ongoing efforts to port Android to the tablet, but note that the source provided by HP is still missing a important component: the driver for the built-in Wi-Fi chip. According to the developers, HP is said to be looking into the missing driver. The source for the kernel and other components is available from GitHub.

Last month, the CyanogenMod Team published an alpha build of version 9 of its Android port for the TouchPad. Steve "Cyanogen" Kondik, the project's founder, says that work on CyanogenMod 9 (CM9) for a number of devices – including the Galaxy Nexus and the TouchPad – is still ongoing, but has fallen behind schedule because of issues related to drivers and hardware support in Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".

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