HP TouchPad CM9 graduates to Alpha 2: we go hands-on

February 24, 2012
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It's been many a moon since I dusted off the old firesale HP TouchPad, but now that the CyanogenMod team has advanced its Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the tablet to Alpha 2, I figured it was time to give the mod-friendly slate another go. TouchPad owners can download the latest ROM from RootzWiki, and after you see my experiences here, you'll want to. The TouchPad has become a surprisingly stable and speedy platform for Android, due in no small part to the efforts of the CyanogenMod developers.

Flashing CM9 is no great feat if you've already got the Gingerbread-based CyanogenMod 7 running. Just copy the ROM and Gapps files over to your tablet (or download them directly) and restart, then use the boot menu to go into recovery mode. Wipe your data, flash the ROM file, flash Gapps, and you're good to go. The first thing you'll notice when booting up Alpha 2 is how fast it is: this thing easily outpaces even my Galaxy Tab 8.9 running Honeycomb, which should perform better with its Tegra 2 processor. Chock it up to TouchWiz, I guess.

If you've had the opportunity to try out an ICS tablet, there won't be any surprises here. Aside from the 4:3 aspect ratio and comparatively small 1024x768 resolution, the interface looks like any other Ice Cream Sandwich tablet ROM. Suffice it to say that it's much more suited to the 10-inch form factor than Gingerbread, even though some of the Google Apps aren't correctly formatted. CM9 is currently based on Android 4.0.3, the latest open-source build from Google.

Browsing is especially nice, as the tablet browser is much, much better suited to quick and powerful browsing than the smartphone version. While my connection isn't great out here in the sun-scorched paradise of North Texas, it was at least as snappy as my rooted Galaxy Nexus. I'd even say that the ICS browser has become much better than the WebOS browser, which is high praise for anyone who's used the latter. And speaking of WebOS, the partition and boot environment for the most popular Android ROMs allows you to reboot into Palm's former glory at any time. Installing the recovery and pre-boot environment doesn't even affect your current OS, except that less of your 16GB or 32GB on-board storage partition is accessible.

There are some downsides: the camera still isn't working, and while the YouTube app is performing well, third-party video services like Netflix are still a little wonky. The reboot function seems to be a little off (there's no direct link to WebOS like in CM7) and the tablet is still pretty picky about which USB cables will work with it. ON the plus side, the TouchStone charging dock works like a charm.

But the bottom line is this: if you've got an HP TouchPad and you know your way around Android ROMs, you owe it to yourself to flash CyanogenMod 9. Come for access to Android's hundreds of thousands of apps, stay for the awesome interface and downright shocking performance. Check out a short video of my experiences below:


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  • Anonymous

    So it isn’t just me who no longer has the battery status info in that notification box. Is the setting buried somewhere to turn it back on? I tried doing several searches for info and haven’t found other people reporting it.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Michael Crider

      I can’t see an option or enabling battery percentage in the statusbar, no. 

      • Anonymous

        That sort of stinks. It was helpful when charging. Instead of relying on digging into settings for the %, or having a widget set up on the homescreen.

        I didn’t want to go so far as to do a full wipe of data (and cache), but maybe that’s what it takes to get it back. I read on another forum that they lost the brightness slider after flashing on top of Alpha 1.

        I’ll be doing a completely new installation of Android on another Touchpad soon, so hopefully I can see if it’s an issue of stacking flashes without full wipes, or if it’s just a bug with Alpha 2 (or maybe a feature if the setting really is tucked away somewhere.)

      • http://www.myspace.com/chezitman Chezitman
      • Anonymous

        Thanks. I might try this. Though it’d be nice to see it enabled again in CM9 itself.

      • Awilson Design

        CM9 is fucking awesome…I LOve my TP now!!

      • guest

        does someone know step by step instructions for noob

  • Idoug Fresh

    Any answers? For some reason, I do not have the android market on my touchpad. Is there anyway I can get it. It seem everyone else does… please help!!!

    • Txhumanist

      Download the ICS version of ‘gapps’ as the CM7 version won’t work in CM9. Save it in /media/internal, reboot to ClockworkMod and then apply zip. Your market will work now.

    • blerim zeneli

      Hello , download GAPPS – ics – 20120224 -signed , and install

  • Piegoodman

    Tegra 2 is not as powerful as the Qualcomm chip inside the HP TouchPad. Looks at benchmarks comparing the two.

  • Jayman30usa

    Works great! Makes my Tpad worth owning!

  • probean

    many things aren’t working on my end. for starters, my machine (win7) cannot detect the device. google plus cannot upload media. reboot button shuts down the touchpad, so i have to manually start it up again. i hope a newer release will fix most of these issues

    • Iamklutch

      Really? Wow, mine is perfect. Sheesh, if stuff is still not working they should list it as an alpha or beta version. Oh, wait. . . It is

      • iBaconCheese

        it’s hard to please the whiners

    • Djmason71

      why oh why do you bother. Uninstall it and use webos and don’t moan about something that is free. People have taken the trouble and time to get this working and to listen to your moaning it makes me wonder why they bother. They did say it is only a beta at this point but your to busy being an ungrateful pussy you must of not read the massive disclaimer. Shame on you..

      • probean

        it’s not moaning you idiot. it’s reporting the bugs. can’t see the difference? yea, am not surprised.

      • Google

        First of all, it’s an Alpha

  • Smileitsme1976

    Top speed.. much better than cm7 so keeep ging :-)

  • Smileitsme1976

    Sorry..going

  • samwcook

    I had CM7 since Nov. and was afraid to jump to this because drove me crazy with sluggishness and the annoying Wifi issues.

    CM9:  After 24 hours of a lot of use–I am so glad I jumped up.  Now I actually see tablets as useful.  It is really good and the fact it is an Alpha build is almost a trick, because it is significantly better than my CM7 build.

  • Chazbryner

    CM9 is amazing. Now that the alpha 2 update is out i often forget that ics 4.0 wasn’t designed for the touch pad. The developers did an amazing job with the entire process and I can’t thank the cyanogen mod team enough for there hard work and dedication.

  • touchpad maniac

    cm9 is awesome and amazing. but pls read the cons before installing. there might be a few more than those reported but my touchpad works flawlessly.  Gameloft games do not work, but there have been some tweaks provided by rohan in the xda forums which resolves for a few games. 

  • http://twitter.com/deepsr38 Demetrius Parker

    Can someone tell me why my Email works sometimes but most of the time I get the message that it stopped working? I had to download the gmail and yahoo app to get my mail but I can’t get my work email unless I go thru the internet. Can someone tell me how to fix? The problem started after I upgraded to CM9. Other then that, i must say that this is the best $150 tablet money can buy:)

  • Gidra150

    I can only say that the Touchpad was next to useless with WebOS but with the Android Alpha 2 it’s become a useful and yes almost IPAD 1, maybe even 2 like. To the CyanogenMod Team working so diligently to make this work I humbly say THANK YOU. You are an amazing group of talented people who I sit in awe of.
    To those of you who will immediately start writing in on how the IPad is so much better and there is no comparison I hope you bought shares in Apple before it went to $600+.
    CyanogenMod you guys rock.

  • Daveinfla34

    Can anyone tell me why clender,clock and play store and other apps won’t work

    • TechTony

      Where did you find the links for your install? Did you install CM9 alpha 2? From what I hear that download did not came packaged with gApps, so it’s possible you need to install gApps to your TP in order to get G-Play, and calendar to work correctly.

  • Mafenton

    I installed cm9 a little over a week ago and other than some of the known issues my touchpad runs flawlessly. The alpha 2 build appears to be very stable. I am not a computer expert, but the install instructions allowed me to install cm9 without any issues. I had already overclocked the touchpad in the webOS so it appears to run very fast. Thank you cyanogenomod.

    • Love Never Fails 96734

      do you have “simple instructions” or links?

    • Jake90001

      I suck at computers can you help Me ? could you give me directions ?  

  • sachin

    I installed this release , microphone is not working, is there any solution for that

  • tearcollector

    I wish I knew what I was doing. Would rather have Android than WebOS on this Touchpad.

    Plenty of places to find how-to, but I’m worried I would screw something up.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6CHV3Q3RAVWU4OXLM56UTIMMQQ Maureen

    my cĺassmate’s ħalf-sister makes $69 an hour on the laptop. She has been fired for 5 months but last month her pay was $8644 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… LazŷĊash5.ċom

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=885585646 Jose Colon De Jesus

    i wish i could install this but the page that has instructions to install android has dead links on the diffrent programs i need got the android build and moboot but i still need ACME Installer and ClockworkMod Recovery the links are not working for me :/ someone know where i can get these?

  • Leonardormt1986

    how instal game …. please i can´t instal any game in my hp touch please help

    • TechTony

      Did you successfully install ICS on your Touchpad? If so, was it CM9 alpha2? To take full advantage of the Android system, it’s highly recommended you install gApps separately from your CM9 install.

  • Al Adams

    I am wondering is someone can help me. I installed ICS alpha 2 and it worked wonderful but now after moving a few icons it only gives me a message that says: “Unfortunately, ADW.Laucher has stopped” when I press OK the window just keeps coming back up over and over. I re-installed everything and it still won’t go away. Emails come in just fine but I can’t get to the desktop. Help! Please!

  • Howie2000slc

    I did this a few weeks ago and suddenly i WANT to use my Touchpad..  this is why i Love the internet and the people who occupy it.

  • jordan

    my corporate email wont sync …settings are correct system sometimes says that server needs to access things …i click ok and still never sync ‘s

  • Tom

    when i boot it just brings me into recovery, how do i get it to run android

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoelDFranke Joel Franke

    Installed it last night. So smooth. I like it far better then CM7. Apps work better and are faster, netflix works for me, Phenomenal!!! I was able to install all of my apps from titanium backup with ease. Good work Cynagenmod team!!!

  • Jim

    After installing mod 9, when I click on the Android Apps store app it blinks on and immediately off. How do I fix this? Can’t get new apps.

  • Nav

    Have just installed ICS(CM9 alpha2) on my HP touchpad and it seems to work great.
    – Mike, Camera are not working and that is already acknowledged in the disclaimer.

    I use Google Play! to install apps, but many of the games are not working. It keeps saying that this “game does not support your device” or Unable to play on your device..or something like that.

    Has anyone compiled a list of android apps that work well on CM9 alpha2 build.

  • lari

    i already installed CM9 and numerous application from the market. however, after insatlling a photo app and opening it, my tab suddenly went down. it wont open. pls help me, how can i make it work again?

  • lari

    i already installed CM9 and numerous application from the market. however, after insatlling a photo app and opening it, my tab suddenly went down. it wont open. pls help me, how can i make it work again?