Almost two years after the HP TouchPad tablet was released (and promptly canceled), the aging 9.7 inch tablet continues to learn new tricks. The latest? You can now run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on HP’s discontinued tablet.
Developer SGA has started releasing test builds of CyanogenMod 10.1 for the HP TouchPad.
SGA also offers builds of CM10 based on Android 4.1.2, but it’s the new CyanogenMod 10.1 builds that offer Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
That means you get support for lock screen widgets, Google’s new notification system, and other improvements.
As of April 5th (when I’m writing this post), there are still a few bugs to deal with. Bluetooth doesn’t work. The front-facing camera doesn’t work (but support should be on the way), and hardware-accelerated video decoding doesn’t work out of the box.
But it’s actually not that tough to enable support for accelerated video playback yourself. It’ll probably be available in future builds, but you can find instructions for enabling it below. This’ll let you stream video from Netflix, watch HD video from YouTube, and use hardware decoding in video players such as MX Player or Dice Player.
I’d still only recommend installing SGA’s builds if you’re willing to risk breaking your tablet. Users have reported that the battery can run down while the tablet is sleeping… and if reaches zero you may have trouble getting the TouchPad to turn back on again, even after you plug it in.
So proceed with caution… and with a charging cable handy. You can also just completely power down your tablet when you’re not using it instead of letting it sleep.
RootzWiki forum member RolandDeschain79 has put together a good guide of what’s working, what’s not working, and steps you might want to take to improve the experience of running SGA’s test builds on your tablet.
Installing CyanogenMod 10.1
If you’ve already installed Android on your HP TouchPad you should already have ClockworkMod or TWRP recovery on your device.
You can then reboot into recovery and install the updates. You don’t have to perform a factory reset first, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. It’s also a very good idea to perform a complete backup in recovery in case anything goes wrong and you want to restore from your backup.
If this is your first time installing Android on an HP TouchPad that’s only been running webOS up until now, follow our guide for installing Android on the TouchPad. Just use the new builds of CyanogenMod and gApps instead of any older versions.
Enabling hardware-accelerated video
Theoretically all you need to do to get Netflix and YouTube HD videos to play is swap out a single file on your tablet. But the process for doing that is actually a little tricky.
Update: Don’t want to struggle with the steps listed below? There’s an easier way. RootzWiki forum member Gradular created a flashable zip file with the HD video fix. Just download it and flash it using ClockworkMod or TWRP custom recovery. Thanks Roland!
As xda-developers forum member webdroidmt discovered, what you want to do is replace the vidc_1080p.fw file in the /etc/firmware directory on the HP TouchPad with one from an Android 4.1 ROM where hardware-accelerated video works.
Here’s how I did that:
1. Download the 20130304 experimental build of CyanogenMod 10 for the TouchPad from developer jcsullins to my PC.
2. Open the .zip file on my PC and navigate to the \system\etc\firmware directory.
3. Extract the file called vidc_1080p.fw to my desktop.
4. On the HP TouchPad I installed Root Explorer from the Play Store (other file browsers with root access may work, but Root Explorer is easy to work with when changing file permissions).
5. Navigate to the /system/etc/firmware directory on the TouchPad using Root Explorer.
6. Tap the button at the top of the screen that says “Mount R/W” to allow read/write access to the directory.
7. Move the vidc_1080p.fw file from this directory to another directory. (You could delete it, but I wanted to keep a copy in case anything went wrong. So I copied it to the root directory of my SD card. I also renamed it so I wouldn’t confuse it with the new file).
7a. You may be tempted to just rename the file. Don’t do that. You have to move it out of this directory in order to make room for the new file you’re about to move in.
8. Copy the vidc_1080p.fw file from step 3 to the /system/etc/firmware directory on the HP TouchPad (you can do this by connecting your tablet to your PC with a USB cable, emailing yourself the file, or whatever your preferred method for transferring files to your tablet is).
9. Long-press on the vidc_1080p.fw file and change the permissions so that they match the image below. When you’re done, Root Explorer should show the permissions as rw-r-r–.
10. Reboot your tablet.
Once the TouchPad finishes rebooting, you should have support for hardware-accelerated video playback.
If you don’t feel like going through all these steps, you might just want to wait until developers offer a pre-built version of CM10.1 with support for video acceleration. Since all that’s missing is a single file, it shouldn’t take long for that to happen.