Of webs and androids…

It’s Saturday night, and I’m sitting in the living room watching Mythbusters while Jennifer dozes on the couch. All in all, it’s a good evening.

Up until recently, though, I would be found in my office at least part of the evening, as I’d have an urge to browse the net. I would use my phone, but I like to keep it in the kitchen where it charges. I also have a work laptop, but it’s a little unweildy sitting in my lap while I’m in the living room. That was taken care of recently by my mother-in-law, who managed to get us an HP TouchPad. For $150, it was extremely inexpensive yet very functional. Both Jennifer and I use the tablet, and it now comes with us on trips instead of the work laptop.

Also, as Jennifer puts it, “I now see a lot more of Scott in the evening.”

However, while we’ve been very happy with the TouchPad, we have come to realize that there’s one major problem with it. The TouchPad runs webOS, which is HP’s own mobile operating system (which they got when they acquired Palm). While webOS is a nice operating system, with the discontinuation of the TouchPad it is becoming seen as a dead OS. The app support has been slight, and there have been no real additions to the lineup. What I needed most was a remote access app for work purposes, and ended up jury-rigging a proprietary solution.

Obviously we needed something better. Fortunately, a solution presented itself Thursday.

My friend Rigo Cortes posted on Twitter that a new release of CyanogenMod had been released for the TouchPad. Intrigued, I looked into it. CyanogenMod is a community-written third party distribution of Android. The installation process for CyanogenMod looked simple, and kept the original webOS install in place. I asked Rigo, and he assured me that while it was labeled as alpha software, it was still very stable.

So, last night I downloaded the needed software, and I installed it this morning.

How did it go? It turned out to be as easy as I had read. It’s also as stable as Rigo had said. I’ve gotten all sorts of software downloaded that I couldn’t get for webOS, like Fruit Ninja, Netflix, Trillian, and others. I even have remote access software installed. I’ve only used it today, but it’s working great.

So, now I’ve got a much more useful tablet. It’s too bad webOS had to be replaced, as we liked using it. However, app support is much better on Android, and app support is what’s most important. Jennifer gets her Fruit Ninja, and I get my other apps.

We’re both happy campers. :-)