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HP hands in-house Android code to TouchPad tablet hackers

Developed as a WebOS fall-back plan?

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Top marks to HP for handing over an Android kernel it once coded for its TouchPad tablet to fondleslab hackers.

The catch: there's no Wi-Fi support.

Still, for the likes of the CyanogenMod team, that shouldn't pose too much of a hindrance. Indeed, early investigation of the wireless code in WebOS and regular Android shows the technology is available under the Gnu Public Licence so should be readily available for porting to Android on the TouchPad.

Closer inspection of the Android kernel reveals HP was working on it up until March 2011. That suggests the company had considering an Android version of the tablet, either in addition to or instead of the WebOS release. The WebOS-based TouchPad was released in June of that year.

In October 2011, HP went on the record state that it had never shipped any TouchPads with Android on board, contrary to claims from some on the internet that they had received tablets with the Google OS in place of WebOS.

Today's Android-on-TouchPad news shows that HP had such gadgets in its labs, and perhaps one or more of these slipped out into the hands of the public.

That said, WebOS workers have claimed that the code couldn't have been created by HP. Clearly someone did, though, and with HP's knowledge even if the Palm group were unaware of it.

Perhaps if more had done so - and with official sanction - HP would have sold more TouchPads and not felt the need to knock the ToucPad line on the head just a couple of months or so after it was launched.

The HP TouchPad Android code is available in a github repository. ®

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