Android (CyanogenMod 7) for the HP TouchPad is Almost Here!

The HP TouchPad, which no one wanted to even touch with a barge-pole, became an instant hit when HP slashed its price fown to $99, in a fire-sale for clearing all TouchPad inventory before discontinuing all webOS development. Not even the iPad must have sold as fast as the TouchPad did in those days. The TouchPad is still being sold on eBay at over a 100% premium.

I’ve already posted why I would love to buy the HP TouchPad, if I could get my hands on one. First of all, the HP TouchPad sports some killer hardware, which is probably among the best in tablets right now. Secondly, even if you aren’t a huge fan of webOS, you should soon be able to install Android on it, thanks to the efforts of the CyanogenMod and Touch-Droid teams.

Soon after the fire-sale started, these two developer teams announced that they were working on an Android Gingerbread port for the HP TouchPad already.

Here’s the first video of CyanogenMod 7 running on the HP TouchPad.

Today, the CyanogenMod team posted yet another video of Android running on the HP TouchPad. They seem to have ironed out a lot of the kinks in the previous ports.

It now supports Wi-Fi, audio and the Android Market, as well as the accelerometer. There are still a few issues, but a working Android port for the HP TouchPad by the CyanogenMod team seems imminent, considering the speed at which they have made progress.

Samsung Planning to Buy webOS from HP?

Since HP’s announcement that it was planning to spin off its PC business and discontinue webOS, there have been some major developments in the technology industry. First of all, the HP fire sale proved that there was a market for cheap tablets, and a chance for other tablet manufacturers to fight off the iPad’s dominance. Amazon is apparently already working on it, and will launch a tablet soon.

We also heard rumors that Oracle was planning a takeover bid for HP, and that Samsung was planning to acquire HP’s PC business.

Today, Digitimes reported that Samsung wasn’t actually interested in HP’s PC business. Instead, Samsung is planning to buy webOS from HP, in order to hedge its bets on the Android platform.

Samsung has been the top Android smartphone and tablet manufacturer since the Galaxy series of devices. However, with Google buying Motorola, it is feeling increasingly threatened about its status as the top dog in the mobile arena.

Samsung already has Bada, as an alternative to Android, and it’s also doing quite well in certain countries.

There may be another reason why Samsung is contemplating buying webOS – patents. Palm had a pretty solid portfolio of patents which could help Samsung fight off the patent infringement lawsuits filed by Apple over the Galaxy devices.

None of these reports have been confirmed by Samsung, but if there is any truth to them, we should see an official announcement soon.

HP TouchPad Running Android 2.2 and Android 2.3 Videos Surface

The HP TouchPad is currently the number 1 selling tablet in Amazon, and across all the retail stores in the U.S. Even though the tablet and webOS is dead, the $99 price is too tempting to give this tablet a miss.

As we had reported earlier, developers all over the world have already started working on porting Android to the TouchPad. There is even a $1500 bounty up for grab for anyone who manages to port Android to the HP’s dead tablet.

Now, two mysterious videos have surfaced on YouTube, which shows the TouchPad running two different  flavors  of Android.  In the first video, the TouchPad is running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and the owner of the video promises to publish a tutorial on August 24th, which will allow other users to install the OS on their $99 tablet as well. In fact, the owner of the video goes ahead and states that he will release a working Honeycomb port for the TouchPad on August 26th. Sounds quite dubious to me, considering Honeycomb’s source code is still not available to the public.

Below is a video of the TouchPad running Android 2.3 Gingerbread –

In the second video, the TouchPad is shown running on Android 2.2.1. The owner of the video claims that his friend’s TouchPad shipped with Android 2.2 pre-installed. Yes, pre-installed! The most interesting part of the video is that the TouchPad’s boot logo is that of Qualcomm’s. Quite interesting huh? The second video can be seen here.

Hopefully, by the end of this month, we should see some partially usable Android ports for the TouchPad.



Why I’m Dying to Buy the HP TouchPad, And You Should Too

As all of you probably know by now, HP killed webOS on its earnings call this week. It also announced that it will be liquidating its TouchPad stock and selling it at fire sale prices – $99 for the 16GB TouchPad and $149 for the 32 GB TouchPad. After that announcement, the TouchPads which weren’t selling at all, became the top selling gadgets of the week.

I have been trying to get my hands on one since 2 days now, but everywhere I check, it’s just sold out. Anyways, a lot of people still aren’t convinced if the TouchPad is a good buy at $99. This post is meant to knock some sense into them.

HP TouchPad

Here’s why I’m dying to buy the HP TouchPad, and you should too:

It’s only $99, dude!

If you said that it wasn’t worth buying the TouchPad at $499, when you could buy the iPad 2 instead, I would totally agree with you.

But with the TouchPad priced at $99, it’d be stupid to not buy it. The hardware powering the TouchPad is really good. It comes with a dual core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, 1 GB RAM and 9.7 inch capacitive display. The cost of these components alone is way more than $99. Besides, there are very few tablets which offer this kind of hardware right now. Compared to those that do, the TouchPad is priced at least 80% lower.

You cannot even get a Chinese knockoff tablet for $99. If you were to just foot the bill of the components used to manufacture the TouchPad, you would be paying more than $200. There has never been a better bargain in the tablet world.

Android for the WIN!

You may be wary of the TouchPad, considering that webOS isn’t as good as iOS or Android. However, here’s some good news. As soon as word of the TouchPad fire sale got out, a group of Android hackers has already announced that they will be porting Android to the TouchPad. While it won’t be getting Honeycomb, it will definitely get a Gingerbread port, and quite possibly, an Ice Cream Sandwich port as well.

I currently have a Nook Color, and trust me, sometimes, support of the dev community is what you want more than great hardware. The dev community has transformed the Nook Color from a puny eBook reader to an excellent Android tablet. They can definitely work wonders with the HP TouchPad, which is a beast in terms of hardware.

webOS isn’t that bad

Even if you don’t see yourself installing Android on the TouchPad, webOS definitely isn’t so bad that it doesn’t deserve even $99, especially when coupled with such awesome hardware. Screw apps, even if you just use it for web browsing, reading books and for an occasional movie, it’s definitely worth the money.

Well, I doubt you can get one now, but if you can, go for it.

How Microsoft Capitalized on the Death of webOS and Attracted 1000+ webOS Developers to Windows Phone 7

Right after HP announced that it would be discontinuing webOS operations, effectively killing the TouchPad and webOS phones, Microsoft made a very smart move.

Brandon Watson, Director for Windows Phone 7, immediately tweeted this:

To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, phones, dev tools, and training, etc.

With Windows Phone 7 still not as popular as Android or iOS among developers , this was a great initiative by Microsoft to strengthen the numbers of its army of developers.

Soon after he tweeted this, there was a deluge of replies from published webOS developers who had applications on the webOS store.

Today, Brandon confirmed that he had received more than 500 emails from webOS developers about the Windows Phone 7 offer, in less than 22 hours after the first tweet.

I have >500 emails in just the last 22 hours. Had to rethink the algorithm for responding to all.

With webOS dead, Android and iOS are the only two major platforms out there. However, iOS is locked on to Apple devices, and Android may now be perceived as impartial, thanks to Google’s Motorola acquisition. Windows Phone 7 may be the only major platform available for hardware manufacturers who don’t want to develop their own software.

Lately, Microsoft has been getting along really well with the developer community. Moves like these will help Microsoft, which has an improved image now in developer circles. Microsoft may be the greatest beneficiary of the untimely demise of webOS.

Update: Over 1000 webOS developers have contacted Brandon now.

HP Kills webOS; Plans to Spin Off Hardware Business

HP announced its Q3 results today, which were slightly below expectations. It also announced that it is in talks to buy Autonomy Corp., and is exploring alternatives to spin off its PC business, because its CEO wants to get out of the low-margin hardware business and get into the high margin software business.

However, that wasn’t the most shocking news today. This is what was: HP also announced that “it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones.”

HP TouchPad

If you remember, HP bought Palm last year primarily because it wanted to enter the tablet and smartphone markets. Palm’s webOS was one of the few good options except Android and iOS. It even launched a few new phones like the HP Pre 3, and the HP TouchPad, but they failed to make much of an impact, in terms of sales. Reportedly, some retailers were unable to sell almost 90% of their TouchPad stocks even after continued price cuts.

Even so, today’s announcement comes as a surprise. webOS was a really promising OS, which was considered by some to be better than both iOS and Android.

HP has stated that it “will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”, but that just seems to be PR speak for “I don’t have a clue about what I plan to do with this.”

R.I.P webOS.

PS: Google is venturing into hardware, HP wants to go all-software; it’s getting a bit crazy out here, in the tech world.

HP Pre 3 Up For Pre-Order In the UK

Back in February, HP announced the amazing Pre 3 smartphone. This handset runs on the HP webOS 2.2 Operating System and it comes with a 3.6 inch touchscreen display, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm processor, 5 megapixel camera with HD video recording, etc. HP Pre 3 is the successor of the HP’s popular Palm Pre 2 smartphone. This handset was expected to release during this month in the UK, but it was delayed due to some unknown reason.

The folks living in the UK, can now go ahead and pre-order the HP Pre 3 smartphone., a popular online retailer is currently taking the pre-orders of this powerful smartphone. This device will be exclusively available for the Orange and T-Mobile customers in the UK. Check out the complete specs, after the break.

hp pre 3

HP Pre 3 features a 3.6 inch touchscreen display sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm processor, HP webOS platform, Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, front-facing camera for video calling and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Active noise cancellation, Mobile hotspot, 512MB DRAM, 8GB / 16GB internal memory, A-GPS, Wifi b/g/n, 3G connectivity, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, Mobile Hotspot, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta and a 1230 mAh battery.

Orange customers can get this handset for free with a 2 year service agreement and a minimum monthly plan of £30. On the other hand, T-Mobile UK customers can get this handset for free with a 2 year contract and a £25.54 per month plan. To pre-order the HP Pre 3, head over to this page.

Who can compete with the iPad?

The iPad is the king of tablets

Apple’s iPad has dominated tablet sales so far. Android tablets have started making some dents, but none of them are really gaining steam as a product (vs. Android tablets gaining some share as a collection). Harry McCracken at Technologizer asked the simple question every tablet maker should be asking at the time of creating their products: Why should someone buy this instead of an iPad?.

Not just the hardware

The iPad and iPad2 are exceptional products by themselves. Great design (although, I could do with a non-glossy/non-reflective screen), light enough to be really portable, GREAT battery life, and to me, a good size for a screen which would be used for media consumption like movies and TV shows via Netflix, hulu and the like.

The key to their success though, besides the hardware itself and the beauty of the operating system, is the ecosystem. The apps, music, movies, podcasts, iTunes U, and the sometimes overlooked accessory industry. Apple has made slow and steady progress in putting these pieces together and has a seemingly invincible position, but in the world of technology today, it could be very short-lived.

Of course, the starting price of $500, thought by many at the time of the iPad launch to be too high, seems like another killer feature of the iPad.

Ecosystem providers, real competition

Who can really compete with the iPad? Not just the tablet, but the entire package of the tablet, the ecosystem, and the price? Remember, it may be ok to just meet the iPad, but in order to create a serious dent, the competition has to have a pretty big advantage on almost all of the aspects. So, let’s see who is competing:

  • Android at the low end: Cheap Android tablets are everywhere but they may not have Google’s blessing and as a result be cut off from the first-class Android experience, including the Android Market. So they have the price advantage but nothing else.
  • Android at the top end: Motorola XOOM and Galaxy Tab started off as 3G devices sold by the carriers. They required a data contract or ended up costing more without data contract, than an iPad. They suffered from the data contract/price issue to start with, but more importantly, there are hardly any apps for Android in the tablet form factor. An ecosystem though, is not just about the apps, it should also provide a good collection of music, movies and TV shows, which Android seems to lack today.
  • HP TouchPad with webOS: HP recently launched the TouchPad and the sales as well as reviews are not encouraging. HP has a problem similar to Android tablets in terms of getting quality apps available for the customers. It does not have to be hundreds of thousands of apps like the iPad apps, but when you start from zero, it is really an uphill climb. HP does not have a marketplace for music, videos and TV either, but it is big enough to cut some deals and get something going. The point right now though, is that there is nothing on offer, making it difficult to justify the purchase for consumer use.
  • RIM Playbook and Windows 7 slates: I won’t go into too much detail because it is clear that RIM released this thing too soon. It is an unfinished product and has been a flop so far. It is hard to imagine a product from the maker of Blackberry devices that does not have native email and calendar. Native email and calendar are supposed to be coming this summer, but until then it is an incomplete product.   I am similarly ignoring Windows 7 tablets like the the Asus slate, because Windows 7 Touch seems like touch was slapped on Windows 7 rather than it being built for touch-first use. While it works much like a PC, thereby providing a healthy ecosystem to rely on, it is not really an iPad competitor because it is not as light, and is way more expensive.

Windows 8, Amazon tablet Two legitimate competitors

We know very little about Windows 8 and almost nothing about the Amazon tablet. In fact, we don’t even know if any such product is going to come from Amazon, but here is why I think either of these, or both, are going to be viable competitors to iPad (and also lay out conditions for their success).

Windows 8 (especially ARM version): ARM is known for its power efficiency, and we can assume that it will enable small form factor Windows 8 devices with a long battery life. Combine this with the public announcement by Steven Sinofsky that Windows 8 system requirements are going to be same or lesser than Windows 7, and we have a good chance of seeing Windows 8 tablets/slates in the iPad form factor with similar battery life. Windows has a great ecosystem which it supports on the XBOX and Windows Phone, in the form of the Zune Marketplace. It provides a huge collection of music, movies and TV shows. Windows of course, has the most extensive applications catalog (although the current Windows applications will not automatically work on ARM, but will do on Intel architecture as-is). Windows Phone has rapidly grown its app catalog, starting from zero in October/November of 2010 to about 25,000 this June. Since we don’t know what Windows 8 application development will be like outside of HTML/Javascript, let’s just assume that the app ecosystem will be rich enough to start with. This assumption is generally for Windows 8 with full support for legacyWindows applications. We cannot discuss ARM applications until we know more, supposedly at the //build/ conference in September this year.

One concern I have is that Microsoft seems to be fixated on the fact that tabletsare full PC’s, just in a different form factor. Maybe they consider slatesto be the lightweight PC with a similar form factor. I hope that one way or the other, that they understand that there is a product category which is not necessarily a full PC, but serves the purpose of casual computing much like the iPad does today.

Amazon tablet: Of all Android tablet makers, Amazon surprisingly is poised to be the best equipped in terms of an ecosystem it supports music, movies, TV shows, instant streaming, subscription, cloud storage, cloud music player, digital goods, and very recently, even its own curated Android market for apps! It has already shown manufacturing prowess with the highly successful Kindle, although I understand components for a tablet are different from those used in making the Kindle. Amazon also has a great retail shelf spaceto sell their tablet, and that is their home page, visited by millions of people every day.

If they can pull off a 9- or a 10-inch tablet built on Android with their own marketplace for apps, movies, music and TV shows, they would immediately be a competitor.

It is strange that I feel most optimistic about something that we may not see for one more year, and something that does not even exist as a product today. Such is the state of iPad competition (or lack thereof) today, that we are left to place our bets on almost-unicorns and unicorns.

I sure hope there is some real competition for the iPad though, because that can only be good for us, the consumers. Right?

HP TouchPad Pre-Orders Open; 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599, Ships July 1st

The much awaited tablet HP TouchPad is now available for pre-orders on the official HP site and several retailers including Amazon and BestBuy. The tablet runs on WebOS 3.0 and will sport a 9.7 inch display and a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 Ghz processor. (HP TouchPad Specs)

HP TouchPad

The pricing for the HP TouchPad 16GB in UK is £399 (~$643) and for the 32GB TouchPad is £479 (~$773). In the United States the tablet pricing is $499.99 for the 16GB version and $599.99 for the 32GB version. The pricing of the device looks on par with other tablet devices available in the market.

HP is betting big in the tablet market with their WebOS 3.0 platform and had also said that they would be manufacturing PCs and Laptops which will run the software. The launch of the TouchPad in July should give them an idea on how consumers react to it. It will also be pitting WebOS 3.0 against Apple’s iOS which runs and and Google’s which powers several tablets including the and 10.1.

So if you are looking forward to get your hands on the HP TouchPad, you can pre-order the HP TouchPad tablet for US from Amazon or directly pre-order it for UK from here.

HP TouchPad 32 GB Wi-Fi Priced at $599

The HP TouchPad, which will be the first webOS tablet, is touted to be the only tablet which can compete with the iPad and Honeycomb tablets. The RIM Blackberry Playbook hasn’t seen very good sales yet. webOS on the tablet has received some great reviews though, just like its smartphone counterpart.

Thanks to HP’s massive distribution network and reach, the HP TouchPad is expected have much better sales than the Playbook. We have seen glimpses of the TouchPad before, but the pricing details haven’t been announced yet. Today, a screenshot of Walmart’s inventory system was leaked by PreCentral, which reveals that the TouchPad will be priced at $599 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi version. The iPad 2 32 GB Wi-Fi is also priced the same, so I’m guessing HP doesn’t plan to compete on price.

Walmart will also be selling the Touchstone charger dock for $79.98, and a webOS Bluetooth keyboard for $69.98. The HP TouchPad may be launched by the first week of June.

The HP TouchPad comes with a 9.7 inch display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. It will run webOS 3.0 and comes with a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 GHz processor. It has 32 GB internal storage and comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. It is powered by a 6300 mAh battery.

HP TouchPad