Independent developers are racing to port Google Android to the HP TouchPad to breathe new life into HP’s recently discontinued (and seriously discounted) webOS tablet. But one man may have taken a bit of a shortcut.

HP TouchPad with Android?

He apparently ordered an HP TouchPad from Best Buy and when it arrived it was running Google Android 2.2.1 instead of the webOS operating system. What’s more, the splash screen mentioned Ubuntu, which is a popular Linux distribution and there seemed to be a QuIC logo at one point. QuIC is the Qualcomm Innovations Center.

The HP TouchPad has a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and it’s possible that someone installed a build of Google Android on a test unit before packing up and shipping the tablet. HP or the OEM that manufactured the tablet for HP may have been testing the operating system — or even testing the hardware. Since no other tablets run webOS, one of the best ways to compare performance would probably be to install Android on a test unit.

It’s also possible this is all some sort of hoax. The person who bought the tablet for $149 says he’d be happy to sell it to a developer that wants to look at the source code… for $700.

On the other hand, his coworker (who posted the information to reddit) seems willing to try to convince the owner to do a system dump.

Update: It’s looking like it could be legit. The reddit poster said the owner of the TouchPad has agreed to loan it out for a few days and it could soon be on its way to one of the developers working on the TouchDroid project to port Google Android to run on the HP TouchPad.

Update 2: The system dump has been released.

It’s likely that independent developers working with the Android Open Source Project could get Android up and running on the TouchPad on their own, given enough time. But the work would probably go an awful lot faster if they had the system software from a tablet that’s already running Android.

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9 replies on “Is this an HP TouchPad prototype running Android?”

  1. I read this comment on some board. I don’t know what it means but I thought somebody might an idea:”Putting Android on the Touchpad is a waste as you’ll not enjoy the benefit of the inductive charging feature but have to bear the burden of a bulkier device due to the built-in induction coil.”

    1. That comment is about the unique ability of the Touchpad to use a Touchstone charging device through what is called an “induction coil”. WebOS can detect when the device is on the Touchstone charger and displays a specialized application of your choice like weather, photo gallery, etc. Android doesn’t support this for any device and I doubt anyone will write code to support it just for the Touchpad. So, to fully benefit from the Touchstone charger you need WebOS. I’m sure an Android Touchpad can still be charged with a Touchstone charger, but nothing special will happen other than it charging. I wouldn’t say android is a waste of time on the Touchpad. It just won’t support all the features that WebOS does with the Touchpad hardware.

  2. Does it take a Genius to take a decent video?? Really? I had to take a seasick pill first before viewing this horrible video!

  3. I don’t see the reason to report this. Lazy reporting, even if you admit it might be a hoax.

    1. The reason is the 1/2 a million WebOS tablets that are now or are soon to be in the hands of people who will very soon find the limitations and want something more. The reason is the cash incentives to port Android to the TouchPad. The reason is it’s a tech-related article on a tech blog – makes a whole lot of sense to me.

  4. It’s Qualcomm not HP who made that prototype, Ever wonder what the QUIC stands for? It’s their innovation department.

    1. Alright, I’ll admit that it’s possible there was some prototype of what would become the Touchpad that was internal to Qualcomm that ran Android. But why would they slap an HP logo on the back? Why add an HP logo to the boot up screen? I can’t think of any good answer to those questions, can you? Then again, how did it slip out of Qualcomm or HP and into this guys hands? If it was a prototype wouldn’t it show some signs of wear and tear from testing? Why would a prototype used for testing and proof of concept be taken from someones desk, given to the HP shipping department, and sent off to a store? It’s not in the supply chain at all.

      If he said that he was a Qualcomm employee that snuck it out of the testing lab that would be more believable, but we know he’s not gonna say that for obvious reasons.

  5. HOAX! Why would a prototype be running Ubuntu or Android? HP has no need for a prototype with any OS other than WebOS. It’s like saying you found a Microsoft tablet prototype running Linux. It just wouldn’t happen.

    1. It’s not like HP haven’t did anything with Android before. Just Google about HP Zeen.

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