2011 may go down in the history books as the year of the Android tablet… but for Liliputing it was clearly the year when people tried to pick up cheap HP TouchPad tablets running webOS software and hack them to run Google Android.
When I decided to take a look at the articles that have generated the most traffic over the last 12 months, I expected to find a few TouchPad posts at the top of the charts. But I was surprised to find that 7 of the top 10 posts were about the HP TouchPad.
So rather than just present you with a top ten list, I figured I’d group together some of the top articles of the year.
This summer HP introduced its first tablet running webOS. The TouchPad hit the streets in July for $499 and up. In August HP canceled the tablet due to sluggish sales and marked down the price to $99. That’s when the TouchPad became an instant hit with bargain hunters — many of them wondering if they could install Android on the tablet so that it could run more third party apps than webOS offered.
The answer turned out to be yes, but not right away.
Here are some of the top HP TouchPad-related posts from 2011:
- HP TouchPad afterlife: Hackers bringing Android, Ubuntu to HP’s tablet
- How to install Ubuntu Linux on an HP TouchPad
- How to install Google Android on the HP TouchPad (with CyanogenMod 7)
- CyanogenMod 7 Alpha 3.5 is ready for the HP TouchPad: Here’s how to install it
- Team Xron releases custom Android ROM for the HP TouchPad
- Android 4.0 coming to the HP TouchPad… eventually
Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet
The TouchPad may have been the first $500 tablet to drop to $100 in less than two months, but it’s not the only cheap tablet to hit the market this year. Even though the Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet and Kindle Fire have only been available since November, some of the hottest topics of the year have been articles about tweaking these two low-cost tablets to get a little more out of them.
- How to sideload apps on the NOOK Tablet (Amazon Appstore, GO Launcher EX)
- How to root the NOOK Tablet, install the Android Market
- How to sideload apps (even the Android Market) on the Amazon Kindle Fire
- How to install CyanogenMod 7 on the Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet may be grabbing a lot of headlines, but Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook has also been getting a lot of attention since RIM started selling the tablet at deep discounts during the holiday season.
An awful lot of people have stopped by Liliputing recently to check out these two articles:
Netbooks, notebooks, and software
We won’t see netbooks with Intel’s next-generation Intel’s next-generation Atom chips until early 2012, so there hasn’t been much news on the netbook front this year. But AMD’s C-series and E-series Fusion processors have managed to keep things a little interesting.
We also got our first taste of Windows 8 in 2011. Here are a few of the articles that have garnered a lot of attention.
- How does AMD’s new E-450 chip stack up?
- Acer Aspire One 522 netbook review
- This is what Windows 8 looks like on an (old) netbook
- How to install Windows 8 using a USB flash drive
There’s another article from earlier this year that got a lot of attention… and then sort of fizzled out. In January we reported on a new tablet that would cost $99, feature stylus input, and a two-color display. It would be designed for taking notes. People seemed very interested in the NoteSlate.
Unfortunately it turns out that the “company” behind the NoteSlate had little more than drawings. There’s still a chance that they could turn their vision into reality one day, but the NoteSlate shown in the concept images probably won’t ever see the light of day.
Like many technology websites, an awful lot of our traffic comes from people searching for things on Google. That means that the articles listed above aren’t necessarily the ones that regular readers found the most interesting. They’re the ones that ranked highest in Google search results, were linked most often from other websites, and resonated with at least some readers.
But I’d be very curious to know what you think are some of the top stories of the year.
One story I haven’t really talked about here is the roller coaster ride that Liliputing went on for much of 2011 in our relationship to Google. Earlier this year Google rolled out a series of changes to its search algorithm to weed out websites with what the algorithm determined to be “low quality content.”
Liliputing was one of the sites that got caught in the crossfire, and while I’d like to think that this was only because of a bug in the algorithm, I spent an awful lot of time trying to improve the user experience, flesh out old posts that might not have had much content, and delete older posts such as daily deals posts that were so old that they were clearly no longer relevant.
I’m very happy with some of the changes we’ve made. For instance, you can now view photo galleries without having to open up a new page for every picture. Theoretically this reduces the number of page views we get, but I think it makes for a much better user experience.
We’ve also recently widened our content column so that we can fit more text on a page and larger pictures. I also increased the font size to make text easier to read.
By August, our search traffic started to recover. I’d like to think it’s because of changes we made, but I think it’s really just due to changes in Google’s algorithm.
Our recovery also started in the month that the HP TouchPad was heavily discounted and the wild ride into the world of low-cost, high quality tablets started.
December, 2011 has actually been our best month ever, so we’ve clearly survived Panda and found new ways to resonate not only with visitors Google sends our way, but also with a community of people who keep coming back to find the latest news about mobile devices.
But I think the list of top posts for the year might not be quite as dominated by the HP TouchPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, Amazon Kindle Fire, and NOOK Tablet if we’d had stronger traffic in the middle of the year when we were writing more about other tablets, netbooks, notebooks.
Liliputing has always been a website about affordable portable technology — and tips and tricks to make cheap gadgets even more useful. That’s as true today while we’re writing about the Kindle Fire as it was 4 years ago when we started tweaking the Eee PC 701.
I look forward to seeing what portable technology 2012 brings.