Android on the HP TouchPad Is Just Around the Corner

A juicy piece of high-technology was winging its way to your door.

In all honesty, though, you’re probably not even sure why you bought the HP TouchPad — it was simply a matter of behavioral economics. The TouchPad was $500, and now it’s $99 — how can that not be a good deal? Heck, this was the tablet that was heralded as the best non-Apple tablet — $99 must be a good deal.

But now the excitement and euphoria is starting to wear off. Now it’s starting to dawn on you that you might soon have Yet Another Gadget that sits in the corner of your room gathering dust. $99 sure is cheap, but dammit you can’t eat a TouchPad, or use it to pay your rent, or wash your clothes…

Don’t despair, however: there’s tons of things that you can do with the TouchPad.

  1. 1. Use your TouchPad as a second (or third, or fourth…) monitor :

you could prop your TouchPad up on some books (or a proper HP carry case-cum-stand) and place it alongside your current battery of monitors and laptops. You could use your TouchPad as a web browser, an IM interface, a Twitter client — and so on.

2. Use your TouchPad as a digital photo frame or e-book reader :

The hardware specification might be a little bit overkill, but the 9.7-inch IPS screen on the TouchPad is absolutely perfect for displaying your favorite snaps — or even video clips. There’s no mount on the back of a TouchPad, though, so you’d be forced to glue some kind of wall mount bracket on the back with epoxy .Also, get this: the 1024 x 768 display itself costs $69 when purchased in bulk from LG — so you’re paying something in the region of $30 for the snappy Snapdragon SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage… not bad.

3. Android on the HP TouchPad Gets Wi-Fi Support and More:

The Cyanogen Team has enabled Wi-Fi, the accelerometer, the Android Market, and improved the audio support on the discontinued HP hardware, and the Android port could be released next month.


4. Forsake webOS and install Android on your TouchPad :

While you can’t do this just yet — unless you’re a professional Android hacker — it might soon be possible to install a custom Android ROM on your HP TouchPad. It won’t be Honeycomb because Google still hasn’t released the source code — instead, it will probably be a tabletified version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread; but that’s OK as webOS and Honeycomb have around the same number of tablet apps, anyway.

The other alternative is to wait for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which is expected to unify the smartphone and tablet branches of Android — and hopefully Google will release it to the public in a timely fashion so that a custom build for the TouchPad can be made.

For more information, make sure you follow xda-developers (thread 1 & 2) and RootzWiki or check out Geek.com’s coverage.

The other possibility is that Windows 8 might also run on the HP TouchPad — but that’s a long shot, and would probably require HP to open-source a bunch of drivers.

5. Twitter Updates from Facebook Coming Soon:

You will soon be able to update your Twitter feed from your Facebook account without a 3rd party plugin or app.


6.  Compare Different File Versions with Dropbox and Chrome:

DropboxDiff is a Chrome extension that lets you use the diff program of your choice to compare files stored in your Dropbox.

7.  Use your TouchPad as it was meant to be used: as a tablet computer :

Finally, despite what you may have heard or been led to believe by other tech blogs, don’t forget that the tablet market is so far from becoming saturated that you could measure it in some kind of astronomical unit. As of July 2011, Apple has sold only 30 million iPads — a lot for a new product, but once you factor in the fanatic Apple zealot upgrade cycle there are probably only around 20 million iPad users in the world.

To get you started with your new TouchPad, there are plenty of webOS apps for Palm smartphones that also work on the TouchPad, and even a few hundred specifically for the TouchPad. You could follow PreCentral, too, which is a great source for webOS-related news.

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