Unless you’re just coming back to webOS from another platform or you’ve been hiding under a mobile-tech rock, you are aware that Phoenix International Communications has partnered with OpenMobile to create the Android Compatibility Layer for the HP Touchpad. This impressive undertaking theoretically brings the (almost) entirety of the Android app catalog to webOS. I say almost because it is based off of Android 2.3 so apps requiring Android 3+ won’t work…yet.
The original kickstarter needed $35,000 to succeed but raised just over $45,000. Another testament to the devoted fans of webOS to be sure! The original release date for ACL for Touchpad has come and gone before but at least this time PIC’s message of further delay does leave hope for pre-release testers and early access backers with an even smaller window of hope for kickstarter backers who payed the $29.99 upfront and little to no hope until public release for pre-orderers from their online store. Here’s what they had to say:
“Thanks for all your patience with our delays over the past few weeks.
“We are currently in the process of implementing some fixes which should allow us to issue an ACL Preview version to our Pre-release and Early Access backers for testing next week.
“There will be some items outstanding at this stage, but it will be complete enough to allow you to really dive in and and experience most of the benefits of ACL right away, and will serve you well until we finish up the official release version.
“Those that have preordered the software through the kickstarter campaign may be eligible to receive this version if Phoenix feels the quality of the product is there; However, those who have purchased through the Phoenix Store will come next.
“We are placing the final release date on hold until everything is complete. As it is still to early to say just how long completing the final release will take, but we feel that once we get over this final hump everything will go smoothly.
“As always we appreciate all of you standing by our side, please continue to cheer us on as we are so close to completing this project.”
The big reason for the delay is mostly being speculated at this point but many have pointed to the newly enabled graphics acceleration. While it does work…it’s not perfect. And that has given PIC enough reason to push back their release of ACL for Touchpad for the second (or is it third of fourth) time. You can get in on the discussion and read all you want about the upcoming release on the webOS Nations forum thread.
There are other issues such as the APK signing exploit, not having Android 3+ compatibility, the overarching “shady-ness” of how OpenMobile acquired the ACL technology, and that ACL for Touchpad will only support webOS 3+ which leaves every other Palm/HP device off the map. Although it is important to note that bringing functionality to the Pre 3 is on the stretch goal list but with the delays it doesn’t seem likely for the near future.
Should they release a beta now to keep their timeline without graphics acceleration? Should they hold on and wait until the product is polished and ready entirely? Honestly, I think at this point their supporters and pre-orderers would like to get…well, something…anything! But we’ll wait. We’ll wait for the same reason we look longingly at any news from LG about their webOS plans and because webOS is still ahead of it’s time.