The HP TouchPad is a tablet with a 9.7 inch display, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. It originally shipped with HP’s webOS software, but hackers have been installing Google Android on the TouchPad for months.
Initially developers ported Android 2.3 to the TouchPad, but now you can also run newer versions of Android on the device — although some features such as the camera may not work in Android.
Update 6/04/2014: There’s a new tool called TouchPad Toolbox which greatly simplifies the process of installing Android on the HP TouchPad. You can use it to completely remove webOS, resize the tablet’s storage partitions, and load recent builds of Android 4.4 KitKat, among other things.
Check out our updated tutorial for instructions. I’d recommend using TouchPad Toolbox instead of the steps outlined below… but I’m leaving the original guide here for the sake of posterity.
Original (outdated) guide:
Here’s how you can install CyanogenMod or other custom Android ROMs on the HP TouchPad.
First I’ll talk about installing it from scratch — assuming that you’re starting from webOS and you’ve never installed Android on the tablet before.
Further down in the article I’ll also explain how to upgrade from CyanogenMod 7 or other Android software.
1. Make sure Java is installed on your computer.
Visit the Java download page from your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer and download and install the latest version.
2. Install Palm Novacom driver
There are several ways to install the Palm Novacom software, but the easiest is to use the Universal Novacom Installer.
You can download the .jar file from Google Code, and once it’s downloaded, click it to run.
Follow the instructions and it should install Novacom on your computer. Note that this will only work if Java is already installed.
You’ll also want to make a note of where the files are installed. On my Windows 7 PC, the Universal Novacom Installer created a folder called c:\Program Files\Palm, Inc.
3. Downoad ACMEINstaller, Moboot, ClockworkMod and optionally gApps
The next step is to download all the files you’re going to need. You’ll find the latest links for most of these files at the CyanogenMod Wiki, but here’s a list of what you need:
- A CyanogenMod 9 Nightly build or a CyanogenMod 10 build (from one of the update links at the top of this article)
- gApps for CyanogenMod 9 or CyanogenMod 10
Update: Note that if the download link for ACMEInstaller3 is unavailable (it sometimes is), you can try an experimental build of ACMEInstaller 4 instead.
You can find links for the first 4 files at RootzWiki. There are a number of different places to find gApps files. CyanogenMod is based on open source software and doesn’t include the Google Android Market or other Google apps such as Google Maps out of the box.
Note that instead of update-cm-9.0.0-RC0-Touchpad-alpha2-fullofbugs.zip you can also use the latest nightly builds.
Bonus round: You can open the gApps zip file and remove the apk installers for any apps you don’t want to install. Just make sure to leave GoogleServicesFramework alone.
As a matter of explanation, ACMEInstaller is an installer file which is run from your PC. the update-cm-9.0 file is the Android 4.0 ROM, update-cwm is the ClockworkMod custom recovery utility, and Moboot is an app that allows you to choose between Android, webOS, and ClockworkMod when you boot your tablet.
4. Place ACMEInstaller in the same directory as your Novacom files
If, like me, Novacom is in your c:\Program Files\Palm, Inc directory, just copy ACMEInstaller to that directory.
5. Connect your HP TouchPad to your computer and enable USB mass storage mode
Use the USB cable that came with your tablet to connect it to a PC. You should see a USB notification in the upper-right corner of the TouchPad. Tap on it to enter USB drive mode.
This will allow your tablet to show up as a removable drive on your desktop computer.
6. Copy remaining files to your TouchPad
Open a file explorer on your computer and navigate to your TouchPad. Create a new folder called “cminstall” without the quotes. Then copy these files from your PC to that new folder:
- gApps 4.0.3 11.12.22.zip
Do not unzip any of these files first. They’re supposed to be zip files.
If you’re using Windows, you may need to eject your TouchPad from your PC before continuing.
7. Reboot your TouchPad
- Tap the home button and then hit the arrow icon to bring up a list of applications.
- Navigate to the Settings tab.
- Choose Device Info.
- Select the red Reset Options button.
- On the following screen (see image below) tap the Restart option.
If you’re already running an earlier build of Android, you can restart much more quickly just by pressing and holding the power button and then choosing the restart option.
8. Press and hold the volume button
As soon as the screen goes dark, press the volume up button until you see a big USB icon on your screen. Then wait for your computer to install any drivers. Assuming you’ve already installed the Palm Novacom software correctly this should just take a minute or two.
9. Open a command terminal and navigate to the Novacom directory
After your computer installs the drivers, it’s time to get ready to run ACMEInstaller. Here’s how you do that on a Windows computer:
- Click the Start Menu.
- Type “cmd” (without quotes) in the search box.
- This will open a command prompt.
- Type “cd /” (without quotes) to enter your root directory.
- Navigate to the correct directory. Typing “dir” (without quotes) will show a list of directories.
- On my computer, I next typed “cd Program Files” and hit enter, then “cd Palm, Inc” and hit enter again.
10. Run ACMEInstaller
Now enter the following command, without quotes: “novacom.exe boot mem:// < ACMEInstaller3″
The USB icon should disappear from your TouchPad screen and now you should see lines of text run across your screen for a few minutes. If you don’t, it’s probably because the Novacom drivers haven’t been installed properly.
Try rebooting your computer and trying again. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling and reinstalling Novacom by revisiting step two.
If everything works properly, your TouchPad should now boot into Moboot.
From here, you can choose to boot into CyanogenMod by hitting the home button. Or you can choose to reboot to webOS by using the up and down volume keys to navigate to the webOS option and then hitting home.
11. (Optional) Install additional packages
Update: This step was originally written to explain how to install the update-chargerfix, but that’s already built into the latest versions of CyanogenMod 9. But these are the steps you would use to install any additional packages (including gApps or future CM9 updates) using ClockworkMod Recovery.
Download the file that you want to install and place it on your HP TouchPad. Then follow these steps to install it:
- Place the zip file in the root directory of your TouchPad’s storage (or in a folder that you can remember).
- Press-and-hold the power button to reboot the touchPad.
- From the Moboot menu, choose ClockworkMod.
- Use the volume keys to scroll down to the entry that says “install a zip from SDcard” and tap the home button to select.
- Using the volume and home keys, highlight the zip file and select it.
- Scroll down to select yes.
- When it’s done installing reboot into CyanogenMod.
gApps addendum: Note that some users have reported that ACMEInstaller2 doesn’t automatically install gApps, but you can use ClockworkMod to install the gApps zip following the steps outlined in part 11 for applying the charging fix. Just substitute the gApps zip file for the update-chargerFix file.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with ClockworkMod anyway, since it provides the simplest tools for backing up and restoring your system, wiping data, or applying OS updates.
Upgrading from CyanogenMod 7, MIUI, or any other Android software
If you’re upgrading from an earlier build of Android you can skip many of these steps. In fact, all you need to do is download update-cm-9.0.0-RC0-alpha0.5-Touchpad-fullofbugs.zip on your TouchPad, reboot to ClockworkMod, and install update from ZIP.
But, and it’s a big but, you’ll run into trouble if you do this without wiping your data first. In other words, you’ll lose all your apps and settings. So the preferred method for upgrading from CyanogenMod 7 Alpha 1, 2, 3, or 3.5 to CyanogenMod 9 Alpha 0 is to use ACMEInstaller2.
Note that the original ACMEInstaller will not work. So make sure to upgrade to version 2. Then just:
- Copy update-cm-9.0.0-RC0-Touchpad-alpha2-fullofbugs.zip and the latest gApps zip file to the cminstall folder on your TouchPad.
- Connect your TouchPad to your PC.
- Reboot the TouchPad, pressing the volume-up button until the USB icon appears.
- Run ACMEInstaller2
This should install CM9 without erasing your preferences. You’ll also probably want to install the latest gApps. But there’s no need to update ClockworkMod or Moboot unless you really want to.
Once you’re done, you may also want to check out step 11 above for instructions on applying an update that will help the Touchpad charge more quickly.
It’s also probably not a bad idea to use ClockworkMod to make a backup of your system before starting, and it’s never a bad idea to use it to wipe your cache.
While it is theoretically possible to triple boot CM7, CM9, and webOS, it’s apparently a pain in the behind, and the CyanogenMod team doesn’t plan to release any tools to make it easier.
This upgrade method should work whether you’re running CyanogenMod, MIUI, or any other software — assuming you’ve already installed ClockworkMod and Moboot.
Latest HP TouchPad news and tips:
- webOS rises from the ashes (again) as LuneOS: open source operating system for phones and tablets
- How to use TouchPad Toolbox to install Android, erase webOS on the HP TouchPad
- HP TouchPad lives on with unofficial Android 4.4.2 KitKat builds
- HP to pay $57 million in WebOS-related class-action settlement
- HP TouchPad gets Android 4.4 KitKat (unofficially)