WebOS-style app switcher for Android 4.0 on the HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad is a pretty decent tablet with a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display, a fast 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB to 32GB of storage. It may not have sold very well when HP tried to charge $499 and up for the tablet, but when the company discontinued the TouchPad and started charging as little as $99, stores sold out almost immediately.

But the price tag wasn’t the only thing holding the TouchPad back. The webOS software that comes with the tablet was decent, but there aren’t as many high quality apps for webOS as for other tablet operating systems such as iOS or Android.

So the TouchPad became particularly popular with folks looking to install Google Android on the cheap tablet. It’s now possible to run versions of Android 2.3, Android 4.0, and even a few different Linux distributions on the TouchPad.

But there are a few things that webOS actually does quite well. For instance, the app switcher is pretty slick. You can swipe your finger up from the bezel below the screen to bring up large previews of currently running apps.

Flick left or right to see more apps. Tap an app to open it. Or swipe up on the app to close it.

The app switcher is one of my favorite features in webOS. But it turns out you can do something similar in Android 4.0.

WebCM9

RootzWiki forum member tbob18 has posted a utility called webCM9 which brings a webOS-style app switcher to HP TouchPads running Android 4.0.

It looks like the webOS task switcher and works much the same way. The biggest difference is that swiping up on an app doesn’t actually close it — it simply removes that app from your recently used apps list.

You also need to install a third party app called Task Changer Pro if you want to be able to access the recent apps list by swiping from the screen bezel. WebCM9 simply replaces the default Android 4.0 recent apps menu with a webOS-style menu.

WebCM9 is currently available for CyanogenMod 9 Alpha 2, AOKP Milestone 4, and CyanogenMod 9 nightly releases from between February 28th and March 5th.

You can install the utility using ClockworkMod Recovery with the following steps:

  • Download the latest version of WebCM9 from the links at RootzWiki and place it on your TouchPad.
  • Press-and-hold the power button to bring up the shutdown menu, and choose the “Recovery” option to reboot into ClockworkMod.
  • Once ClockworkMod has loaded, use the volume keys to move up and down and the home button to select.
  • Choose the option for “install zip from SD card.”
  • Locate the WebCM9 installer zip file and select it.
  • Scroll down and select “yes.”
  • When the install is complete, hit the power button to return to the main menu.
  • Choose the option to reboot the system.

This will replace the standard Android 4.0 recent apps menu with WebCM9. Now all you need to do to use the new task switcher is press the recent apps button in the toolbar.

If you want to use bezel gestures to bring up the menu, you can download and install Task Changer Pro from the Google Play Store and configure it so that the “left lower zone action” and “right lower zone action” options are set to “show recent ICS.”

Now you can swipe from the side of the screen to bring up the recent apps menu. It’s not as easy to swipe from the bottom of the screen since the Android taskbar hangs out down there.

You can find more details on installing and configuring Task Changer Pro at the webOS Nation forum.

  • android_tablets

    Nice dude. This just keeps getting better – and to think, the only reason I managed to buy two was because of your site!

  • jared

    Pretty sure the Touchpad has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, not a TI OMAP 4 :-P

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Pretty sure you’re right That’s what I get for writing these things off the top of my head. :)

  • Mobile1

    I just LOVE my Touchpad. It has been a source of so much entertainment and it just keeps on giving! Hands down best $100 I’ve ever spent.

    • Mobile1

      Just wanted to clarify, best $100 I’ve ever spent, on electronics. ;)

    • turn_self_off

      makes one wonder what kind of insanity made HP drop it like it was highly contagious…

  • Robin

    Do the icons at the bottom of your screen come from the Android software?  I have a difficult time navigating around my touchpad.  There is no back icon which makes navigating some sites difficult, especially as they mysteriously change from one screen to another and I cannot get back.  I am very frustrated with my tablet.  Is the Android software what I need?  One comment mentioned how quickly their tablet boots up with the webOS.  Mine takes several minutes from off to open up.  Another frustration.  Do you have any advise to eliminate my frustration?  I would appreciate any help.

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Yes, those icons are part of Android. You can find instructions for installing Android 4.0 here:

      http://liliputing.com/2012/01/how-to-install-android-4-0-on-the-hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod-9-alpha.html 

      But bear in mind, this will void your warranty, there’s no official support if anything goes wrong, and not all features work properly. The camera and microphone, for instance, aren’t working in Android. 

    • Timstuart67

      If you swipe left and right this accomplishes the same as a browser’s back and forward buttons.

  • nomanhadi85

    right

  • Guest

    Did not work for me, my touchpad just kept showing the loading screen but didn’t actually load. I had to restore it :(

  • Jacqueb357

    I am thinking about trying to download android but all the different versions are confusing me please help!!!! Have they fixed the wifi and camera yet?
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15104883 Andrew Rivlin

    DO NOT INSTALL TASK CHANGER PRO, it breaks ICS.

  • PB

    can this work on palm pixi plus