A few months back, deep in the midst of the TouchPad fire sale, at least a few of HP’s webOS tablets shipped out the door and to customers with an unexpected install: Android. While HP never figured out exactly how their internal build of Android got released into the public, they’ve gone ahead and released the kernel and GPL (General Public License – i.e. open source) components. It’s worth noting that releasing this is not something HP had to do – while those that ship Android devices are required by the licensing terms to release the kernel to open source, HP’s release was accidental and thus open sourcing was not required – this release can be chalked up to goodwill, even if resulting from being pressured into doing it.
As was noted on RootzWiki, the source code released appears to have been developer separately from webOS on the TouchPad, possibly as a precursor project to HP’s acquisition of Palm. The last change in the code was in March 2011, three months before the TouchPad’s July 2011 release, but well after HP announced the webOS tablet in February. The crew at RootzWiki is understandably encouraged by the release and intends to adopt various portions into the CyanogenMod 9 Android 4.0 port.