Oct 162011

EDIT April 7, 2012 – This post is quite old and there have been new editions of CyanogenMod Android since. It’s better to start from my newer post describing my experience with latest Cyanogenmod 9 on TouchPad(Android 4.0, code name “Ice Cream Sandwich”) and installation links.

EDIT November 23, 2011 – See my new post about the new version (Alpha 3) of CyanogenMod Android for TouchPad which was released yesterday.

UPDATE October 21, 2011 – New test version, Alpha 2.1 is out, so if you want to mess with it (at your own risk), disregard the links below and use the following two:
(end update)

Android CyanogenMod 7.1.0 (alpha) is now running on my HP Touchpad and it’s acting better than expected. Last night I followed instructions from a link listed in the text below and here are some notes that may contribute to a successful installation, and impressions about my “love at first sight”:

Disclaimer: Do NOT do this unless you are both technically inclined and willing to risk bricking your Touchpad (rendering it useless), which can happen if you don’t do things properly and in adequate order, or even if you’re just out of luck. If you really want to do this, read my post, then also read the original instructions posted at the links below and watch the videos. Although this procedure worked on my device, there are no guarantees this will work on yours.

1. Novacom.exe – first and foremost, about the Palm developers utility, lack of which wasted a lot of my time. This part seems to be missing from the webpage with the list of files to download (probably because this procedure was initially intended for developers who already have it installed and available). Without this (exact) file I couldn’t fire up the initial installation. Don’t use novaterm or novacomd.exe – WRONG. The YouTube video shows how to run the file, but on a Mac, but it would have been helpful to have it in the list instead of having to re-run the video few times and then google, google, google… so here it is:
If you don’t already have the novacom installed and you’re running Windows, I recommend downloading it from http://wiki.rootzwiki.com/index.php/HP_Touchpad. Choose the adequate download for 32 or 64 bit Windows, depending on the computer you will use to install CM7 on the Touchpad and don’t forget to run the .msi file to install the utility after the download. I received no messages confirming the successful installation, but the file gets installed in “C:Program FilesPalm, Inc”.

For downloading rest of the files and for the installation, I used the procedure described at http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?4011-RELEASE-ALPHA-Discussion-CyanogenMod-team-Touchpad-port

Today (October 17) I discovered another post at liliputing.com that seems to have the installation process summed up a bit better than the original link above, and it includes screenshots.

2. ACMEinstaller.zip – THE ONLY ZIP FILE THAT NEEDS TO BE EXTRACTED. The others are to be left untouched.
After creating a “cminstall” folder in Touchpad’s space and copying the three zip files (moboot and two tenderloin zip files, one 7.1 kernel, the other clockwork patch) as specified in rootzwiki instructions, I temporarily copied the unzipped ACMEinstall file into “C:Program FilesPalm, Inc” directory, started a cmd session, navigated to that directory, entered the command as specified and everything went sort of smooth from there (funny how sometimes it’s easier to copy files instead of specifying a long but correct path). When I ran the novacom bootmem command and saw no initial reaction, I thought it didn’t work and went to warm up the milk for my daughter but when I came back the installation was finished. All I had to do was to reboot and this thing is cooking.

Don’t use ROM Manager for any updates yet, as it still hasn’t been adapted for the Touchpad. I read this and forgot it, so I tried to use it to install Google apps instead of going through the clockwork boot/install procedure as recommended – it didn’t work out that well. I had to keep pressing buttons creatively till I got the device to boot up again.

Overall, my first impression is – I was right! Android (even in a buggy alpha version) runs much smoother on this hardware than the webOS. I love webOS features and I got so used to them that several times I tried to swipe up to switch to another “card” (term for an app in its own window on Touchpad) or in other words switch between tasks, but even after overclocking the gizmo was too slow in webOS. It is so easy to get used to faster performance. Compared to overclocked webOS, “standard-clocked” Android works miracles on this thing, just as I expected. Browsing the Internet is so easier and quicker.

Don’t forget that this powerful and beautiful hardware with reputation ruined by a buggy OS is running on a dual core 1.2 GHz CPU with 1 GB RAM and it’s supposedly underclocked, so it can run at its normal speed of 1.5 GHz. I achieved that very easily and seamlessly in webOS with preware patches installed. Some overclock it even higher, to 1.7 GHz and up, but after witnessing how smoothly it operates with Android OS, I think I can just leave it at 1.2 GHz.

Speech recognition works great on Touchpad CyanogenMod alpha with Google Voice Search! It requires a separate download from Android Market, but upon installation it works great. You may have to first apply the patch mentioned below that’s needed for Market, Maps and Dolphin installation). Vlingo wasn’t that successful with predominant “I didn’t catch that” response, so I took it off but I’m already used to the excellent Google Voice Search on my EVO (the name is unfair because it also follows commands) that’s already been around for a long time, but it hasn’t been marketed as iPhone’s new Siri.

More sweet stuff – Netflix works! I can watch movies again (it doesn’t work in webOS).

Amazon.com app store works as well as on my phone.

I didn’t measure the time but it seems that booting up in Android takes about half the time neccessary to boot in webOS.

One common problem I experienced is that Touchstone charging doesn’t seem to work reliably. Sometimes it charges, but when I leave the tablet on the stand overnight, it discharges completely. Reboot to webOS for overnight charge is my resort. Someone in the forums said that this happens because there is no power optimization on the CyanogenMod done for the Touchpad yet so the tablet is using more power than it obtains through the inductive charger (direct cable connection to the charger still works). Another person stated that the tablet charges fine once you disable data sync, but that didn’t help in my case.

Another problem is that WiFi dies whenever the system goes to sleep, so it has to be toggled off and on to start working again. Fortunately, CM7.x has great status bar toggles and switching things on and off is easier than on the iOS and webOS or any other OS I’ve seen so far (Settings>CyanogenMod settings>Interface>Notification power widget>Widget buttons and Widget button order).

Video calling doesn’t work in Skype – only audio.

Google Maps and Dolphin browser were nowhere to find in Android Market, but I fixed that bug with a patch.

My first impression? If this ends as well as it seems to be progressing I believe that the HP Touchpad will become a jackpot with Android CyanogenMod, a ridiculously cheap but sophisticated machine. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to stay away from these first installations and wait for the final release unless you’re an enthusiast with technical skills. The great CyanogenMod team will probably and hopefully finish their port of Android to HP Touchpad soon. Until then, I’m still going to be in Android more frequently than in webOS, an OS with some great solutions and unfulfilled promises which make it too slow and cumbersome compared to Android.

  2 Responses to “Android Installed And Running on My HP Touchpad”

  1. Help, tried to install cyonogen alpha using C:Program FilesPalm, Inc” directory, started a cmd session, navigated to that directory, entered the command as specified. Now all I have on my touchpad is a USB sysmbol and it won’t reboot or turn off?

    • Is this still the case?

      Try to disconnect and reboot. Hold either the power button for 10 seconds or more, then if that doesn’t do it hold both power and home button for at least ten seconds. Without seeing it in person it seems you command didn’t run, especially if after reboot you find that the install files are still there in cminstall folder.
      In that case try to repeat the install process.

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