There are two devices that refuse to toe the line when it comes to unofficial software updates; two devices that were released running software other than Android but have had Google’s operating system ported to them and still receive regular updates from a cache of loyal, hardworking software engineers. One is the HTC HD2, originally launched running Windows Mobile and the other is the HP TouchPad, which was launched running Web OS. It’s the TouchPad that I will be writing about today because it’s just received an unofficial port of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Or to be a little more precise, it’s received an unofficial port of CyanogenMod CM12, which itself is an Android-based custom ROM and of course, completely unofficial for the HP TouchPad. Yes, that’s right, the TouchPad has an unofficial port of an official but unofficial ROM for the last device that HP released running official Web OS. My head hurts!
The TouchPad was released in 2011 running Web OS 3.0. The hardware is based on a 1.2 GHz, dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor with 1 GB of RAM and a choice of either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage. As for its display, it’s a 9.7-inch 4:3 affair with a 1024 x 768 resolution. It has a 6,300 mAh battery (not so different in capacity to the HTC Nexus 9) but the TouchPad is relatively large and heavy for the size of the screen compared with modern devices. However, the hardware is certainly capable of running Android although the older Snapdragon S3 is not as power efficient or responsive as newer processors, so it is not the fastest nor the most smooth of devices. However, as regular readers will know, Google have put a lot of optimization under the skin of Android 5.0 Lollipop and the latest version, 5.0.2, is reputed to be noticeably better than the original 5.0 release.
Nevertheless, that the TouchPad remains a usable tablet over three years after it was introduced, running a non-standard operating system, highlights one of my favorite things about the Android community: devotion and innovation. It might seem a fools’ errand to install a brand new operating system onto old, unsupported hardware, but this is a fantastic way to recycle products. Rather than bin the TouchPad when Web OS 3.0 was no longer supported, hack the device and install Android Lollipop to give it a whole new lease of life? If you’re reading this and using a TouchPad with Android on it, please let us know in the comments below. Especially if you’re going to install Nightly CM12: we’d love to hear from you!