It’s been almost 8 years since HP launched the HP TouchPad tablet for $499, saw how poorly it was selling and then quickly marked it down to $99 and sold off remaining inventory in a fire sale… prompting bargain hunters to snatch them up and start tinkering with them.

Since then, a small group of die-hard enthusiasts keep releasing new software that makes these aging tablets surprisingly usable. The latest example? You can now run Android 9 Pie on an HP TouchPad.

Keep in mind, the HP TouchPad didn’t ship with any version of Android pre-installed. Instead it ran WebOS, an operating system originally designed for Palm smartphones. But then HP acquired Palm, tried to launch a tablet, failed spectacularly, and eventually sold off the assets to LG, which uses WebOS for its smart TVs.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for hackers to start porting Android to the system, and since then we’ve seen custom ROMs bring almost every version of Android to the TouchPad.

A few days ago xda-developers forum member elginsk8r released a build of Evervolv for the HP TouchPad that’s based on Android 9 Pie. The ROM is based on the Android Open Source Project, but includes a few extra features including an extended power menu and support for controlling music playback using the tablet’s volume buttons.

The ROM doesn’t currently support Bluetooth or the camera on the HP TouchPad, but elginsk8r says both are works in progress.

A day after the Evervolv Android 9 Pie ROM was released, it was joined by a port of the Dirty Unicorns Android 9 Pie ROM.

You might have to jump through a few more hoops to install Android on a tablet that runs WebOS than on one that shipped with Android, but it is doable… and if you’ve already got a TouchPad tablet lying around that’s running an early version of Android then it should be a little easier to update — although you may still need to take some extra steps to make sure the tablet’s disk partitions are set up for newer versions of Android.

Still, it’s kind of remarkable that this tablet continued to get software updates close to a decade after it was discontinued, thanks to a group of third-party developers.

via xda-developers


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19 replies on “HP TouchPad refuses to die, receives Android 9 Pie custom ROMs”

  1. In some ways it is a shame. Leaving the Touchpad as it was is a way of remembering how good WebOS was.

  2. It’s a shame it’s not more common for devices to have ongoing support years after their initial release. Consumers definitely miss out, but the real loser is the environment when all these still serviceable devices get thrown away.

    1. How long did you try charging it for? I just pulled out my TouchPad after 3 years of sitting unused and had to charge it 24 hours before it’d even turn on. Even after 12 hours, it wouldn’t respond to any button combinations.

      1. It died when I was actively using it back then. I went to use it and it was off, so naturally I tried charging it. Charged it overnight with the official charger and cable and it would just never turned on. There was a hot spot in some random part of the tablet so my guess is something just fried itself and died.

  3. Wow I remember the fire sale and I almost bought one for $99, but decided not to.

    1. I ordered one, but they ran out before getting to my place in line. 🙁

    2. Got one, I even installed the first version of Android that could be installed on it (Jelly Bean?), but the experience wasn’t great and it essentially was a way to keep it usable in lieu of the dying webOS app story back then. Sadly I gave it away a few years ago as it just sat in its box on a shelf, now I wish I has kept it.

  4. I think I can wait for a sale and get a 10″ Fire Tablet from Amazon, with a warranty and modern hardware, instead of hunting down an old TouchPad. Thought about buying a TouchPad on eBay, but then reasons.

    1. That’s what I did. They go on sale for $100 from time to time. I don’t regret it.

    1. Me too, Grant. I scored my TouchPad from discovering Brad’s great website and chasing down vendors he listed. I still have the TP and it actually still works great. I really need to get around to getting Android working on it. That thing is built like a tank compared to tablets today.

  5. “Still, it’s kind of remarkable that this tablet continued to get software updates close to a decade after it was discontinued,”

    Doubly so when you consider how many Android devices stop getting software updates within the first year (or two, max) of being on the market, with large corporations and teams of paid programmers behind them.

    1. Part of the reason too for that is these modern devices have security mechanisms that are a double-edged sword. Malicious actors can’t hack the hardware easily and neither can you as the end user when you have direct access and hold rightful ownership to the hardware.

      1. That makes sense for Politicians and Samsung Knox. But it sucks for +95% of users that are just average joes.

        Besides all this, the most impressive device is the xda. That final Windows Mobile device that has a port of all the Android versions, several Linux distros, few Windows Phone ports, and even full-blown desktop Windows. The HTC HD2.

        Wished we had more devices like this but with different form-factors (eg Samsung EPIC, Blackberry Priv) and different specs (eg SONY Z5c, LG V20, NOTE4-Exynos) etc etc.

      2. I understand that that’s why community ROMs are less plentiful, but the companies that make these phones and tablets don’t have that excuse. It’s literally “we made our money from this, so we don’t have to care about it anymore.” And over a decade in, that’s STILL the biggest problem with the Android ecosystem. This bunch of hobbyists have provided updates to an obscure device for over a decade in their free time. I expect at least that level of commitment from a company I gave real money to.

    2. Duh! Most manufacturers want you to buy their latest and greatest new model rather than update the old one that you already have.

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