Take Two Tablets & Call Me In Six Months

When HP did their now famous about-face on WebOS I saw it as an opportunity to acquire a Touchpad at a fire sale price. So did a great many others. What limited inventory HP had sold out very quickly.

We eventually managed to obtain one, which my wife claimed as her own. I was ok with that. I had a chance to get to know the Touchpad here and there. It was enough maintain my impression that tablets are better for media consumption than creative tasks. In essence, the touchpad made me appreciate my aging HP5102 netbook..enough to justify the move to an SSD.

Back in May my wife reported that she had lost the Touchpad. She was certain that she left it somewhere off-site and it was surely lost forever. We also hunted all around the house and office, just in case it could be found. It wasn’t. Much changing of passwords ensued.

A few days later Woot.com offered refurbished Touchpads for $199. I informed Stella, suggesting while I had purchased the first touchpad, she might like to purchase another. She eventually decided to buy one.

When this new Touchpad arrived it was defective. It would not find any wifi, as if the radio was disconnected. Woot advised me to deal with HP WebOS support, which I did. That process took a week or two but they eventually replaced the defective device.

About that same time I was cleaning our little SUV, when what did I find tucked neatly under the driver seat? The first Touchpad. It was in a protective sleeve, unharmed except for a completely dead battery. Stella decided that, her original tablet now found, I could use the second Touchpad.

So it was that we accidentally became a two Touchpad household.

I have no major complaints about WebOS or the Touchpad. It’s a decent 10” tablet, albeit on a bit dated hardware by this point. Lacking for the support of a major manufacturer there’s a scarcity of apps, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Nonetheless, I use it here an there for simple online tasks and reading email late in the day.

When Google released the Nexus7 at the recent IO conference I found myself interested in the device, and especially Android 4.1. My Galaxy Nexus should receive the “Jelly Bean” update any day now. I thought I’d see how Jelly Bean ran on the phone before deciding about purchasing a Nexus7.

hp-touchpad-running-android

Of course, that was before the second Touchpad landed in my lap. Now I’m wondering if it’s worth the trouble to load Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on the Touchpad? There are some fairly good guides to doing this available online.

I’d be interested in hearing from someone who’s done this. Was it worth the effort? Would I be better off just reselling the Touchpad and waiting for the Nexus7?

Last September I took a trip to Victoria, BC on business. One of the people I was travelling with had a 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab. It proved handy on that trip. The 7” size impressed me as being a great combination of big enough to be useful yet not too large or heavy. That experience makes me think that the Nexus7 might be a killer device…and the one I should actually be using.

I would normally be more deliberate about such plans. The original Touchpad was an impulse purchase. That “unplanned” status seems to be surrounding tablets in our household.

  • I would not screw around with it. Life is too short for this stuff. Keep the HP tablet for movies and email or sell it on ebay. The new Nexus 7 is $199, tightly integrated with the very thin hardware. The hardware specs on the Nexus 7 are very impressive. 

    If you upgrade the HP and like it, you will want better hardware anyway. If you don’t like it, it won’t be as easy to sell. 

    • mjgraves

      Given the pile of stuff collecting in the corner of my office, I’m pretty bad at actually getting stuff listed on E-Bay. I have three SIP phones and an older tablet all sitting idle awaiting new homes. 

      Greg (who works at HP) has a Touchpad running ICS. He says that he prefers it to his iPad.

      So that’s 1 for and 1 against thus far.

  • Greg

    Android is a must for any Touchpad owner.  It literally takes 15 minutes and is dual boot if you ever want to go back and remember what WebOS was like.  I’e never gone back.  

    • Greg

      BTW, here is the original youtube instructions I followed.  The process is the same for ICS so make sure whatever instructions you use follow the same basic instructions. 

  • I have a Touchpad running ICS (CyanogenMod 9) and it works well, albeit without camera support. It was easy to install. I don’t purchase new hardware trivially — not because of the purchase price but because of the ongoing cost of time investment to maintain devices — so I haven’t even considered getting a different tablet yet.

    • mjgraves

      I had seriously considered installing Android on one of our Touchpads. However, before I could act in that impulse the Nexus7 that I had ordered arrived. My appetite for an Android tablet is for the moment quite satisfied. I think that the 7″ form factor is seriously compelling.

      I may yet put Jelly Bean on the Touchpad. I have it on the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus7. I’m very impressed with it so far.