HP is offering a limited number of refurbished HP TouchPad tablet on eBay for $99 and up starting at 6:00 PM Central Time on December 11th, 2011. The tablet has a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display, a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, and webOS 3.0 operating system.
The TouchPad was released this summer and then canceled less than two months later due to poor sales. But when HP dropped the base price from $499 to $99, the tablet became awfully popular.
As a $99 tablet, it’s actually pretty great. It’s half the price of an Amazon kindle Fire, and you can use the tablet to surf the web, read eBooks, play games, edit WordPress blogs, and watch movies or listen to music. HP has also continued to release minor software updates to improve the tablet experience, even though the company has discontinued the hardware.
HP plans to release webOS as open source software soon, which means that HP and independent developers could continue to make changes that will improve performance or add new features.
But there’s another way to get more out of your TouchPad. Right now there are only around 10,000 third party apps available for webOS, and only about 10 percent of them are optimized for tablet-sized displays.
If you install Google Android on the TouchPad though, you can install hundreds of thousands of apps from the Google Android Market. Many of them run very well on the tablet, although every now and again you’ll run into an app that’s not optimized for the 1024 x 768 pixel display, since most Android devices have widescreen displays.
The folks behind the popular CyanogenMod software have released a few alpha builds of Android for the TouchPad, and while it’s still a little rough around the edges (people have reported problems with audio, WiFi, and video performance in the latest builds), the software doesn’t crash as much as it used to, and you can dual boot Android and webOS or even uninstall Android altogether if you decide you don’t need it anymore.
The latest version of CyanogenMod for the TouchPad is based on Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but a new version based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is already in the works.
You can also run Ubuntu Linux on the tablet.
So if you just picked up a new TouchPad or plan to get one soon, here are a few links to help you get started with hacking the tablet into a more useful device.
Change the operating system
- How to install Android 4.0 on the HP TouchPad with CyanogenMod 9
- How to install Android on the HP TouchPad with CyanogenMod 7
- Classic gaming on an HP TouchPad with Android, a WiiMote, and game emulators
- 11 Android games on the HP TouchPad
- Team XRON releases CM7 mod with Honeycomb theme, performance tweaks
- How to install Ubuntu Linux on the HP TouchPad
Try these webOS apps and hacks
- Zinio app for HP TouchPad offers free magazine article downloads
- Grooveshark brings music-on-demand to HP TouchPad
- Overclock an HP TouchPad to 1.7 GHz with UberKernel
- How to reboot an HP TouchPad to webOS or Android