Monday, June 17, 2013

Android on HP TouchPad Tablet

I wasn't sure what to write this week's main blog entry. I had received a comment from one of my friends regarding last week's blog entry about things that I don't like about the Blackberry Q10 which I wanted to address but I thought that I would write about what he said at a future date (probably as an interim blog entry or next week's main blog entry).

Instead, this week I will wrote about my experience having installed Android on my HP TouchPad last week. At least three of my friends had Android on their HP TouchPads and they recommended that I "upgrade" my HP TouchPad so that it would run a version of Android.

I had some problems installing Android on my HP TouchPad using my home computer for some reason (computer would not recognize my HP TouchPad when I connected it to my computer via the USB cable). I spoke with a co-worker and he informed me that it should work. During one of the off-periods at work, he helped me with the installation of Android on my HP TouchPad. I had attempted the same start-up steps at home but it didn't work for whatever reason. I did run into an issue after I installed Android onto my HP TouchPad which I managed to fix by going to an earlier version of Android (a version of CyanogenMod 9) as opposed to using the latest version (a version of CyanogenMod 10). For me, all the Android programs that I want to use work with CyanogenMod 9 (Android ) so for the time being I don't see any point in attempting to upgrade to CyanogenMod 10.

There are many websites on how to install Android on the HP TouchPad. Since I used a Windows PC to install Android on my HP TouchPad, I will obviously only write how to do this using a Windows PC (although I've heard that it is possible to do this also on a Mac). I will outline what I did and will include the files that I used in the comments section sometime this week. Prior to attempting these steps, my HP TouchPad was running an unmodified version of HP webOS 3.0.5. If your HP TouchPad is not running this version of webOS (or it has been hacked previoulsy), I recommend reverting to a clean version of HP webOS 3.0.5 on your HP TouchPad.

My instructions are geared towards people who are somewhat familiar with computers and know how to troubleshoot simple installation issues or go into certain directories using the command prompt. Regardless of whether you are or aren't such a person, I am including the usual disclaimer that I am not responsible for anything that might go wrong when you follow my instructions or use my files. These instructions and files worked for me and they should work for you.

The first thing that you have to do is to make sure that you have Java installed on your computer. You can get Java at their official site *HERE*. Depending on the version of Windows that you have on your PC, you can see if you have Java installed by going to Control Panel. For example, on Windows 7 computers, one of the ways of seeing if you have Java installed on your computer is by going to Control Panel, and then switching to the "Small Icons" view and you should see a Java icon. If you did not have Java installed on your computer and you installed it via the link above, I recommend that you reboot your computer regardless of whether you receive a prompt asking you to reboot since it is always good practice to reboot after any program is installed or uninstalled from a Windows-based computer.

Once you have Java installed on your computer, you will need to install/run a program called "Novacom". You can get the Novacom Universal Installer *HERE*. After installing the Novacom Universal drivers, I recommend rebooting your computer again. The Novacom drivers/programs should be installed in a directory similar to C:\Program Files\Palm. I tried to save some time and didn't reboot my work computer initially and my work computer wouldn't properly detect the HP TouchPad when I connected it to my computer using a micro-USB cable.

The next thing that you will have to do is put the ACMEInstall3 file into the directory containing the Novacom drivers/programs (in my case, it was in C:\Program Files\Palm, Inc).

At this point, connect your HP TouchPad tablet (which should already be powered on and in the standard HP WebOS desktop) to your computer using the micro-USB cable that came with your HP TouchPad. I used a 3rd party micro-USB cable and it worked without any issues (so results may vary). You should receive a prompt on the upper right corner showing the USB symbol. Tap this symbol and enter USB drive mode. After a few seconds you should see your HP TouchPad (as a USB hard drive or USB storage device) on your computer. When you see this, you must create a folder called "cminstall" on the root directory of your HP TouchPad using your Windows PC.

You will place all the files that I have in the cminstall folder (do not unZIP/uncompress the ZIP files which are contained within the cminstall folder) on the cminstall directory of your HP TouchPad. There are 4 ZIP files that must be in the cminstall directory of your HP TouchPad. If you are using Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (and possibly Windows 8), you can simply just double-click on the ZIP file mentioned in my comments section later this week in order to view the contents of the ZIP file and drag and drop the cminstall folder onto your HP TouchPad storage device/drive (from My Computer or Computer)

After these 4 files are on your HP TouchPad, unmount your HP TouchPad from your computer by clicking on the "Eject media" icon on the bottom right corner of your Windows computer and selecting "Eject" for the device corresponding to your HP TouchPad. Leaving your HP TouchPad still physically connected to your computer, reboot/restart your HP TouchPad. To do this, tap the "Home" button on your HP TouchPad and then go into the Settings menu, click on "Device Info", then click on "Reset Options" and then finally click on "Restart". If following the above instructions, the "Home" button doesn't bring your HP TouchPad into the HP webOS home screen, it might be necessary for you to temporarily disconnect your HP TouchPad from your computer (and then wait until you are able to get the WebOS home screen and then plug your micro-USB cable back into your HP TouchPad and follow the rest of the steps to restart your HP TouchPad).

The moment your HP TouchPad begins to restart, the screen will go black. When the HP TouchPad screen goes black, press/hold the volume up button on your HP TouchPad. If you did it at the proper time, a large USB icon will appear on your HP TouchPad. When you see this USB icon, release the volume up key. Your computer at this point might install any necessary drivers. If it does this, wait until the drivers are successfully installed before proceeding to the next step.

On your Windows computer, call up (start/launch) a Command Prompt window and go to the directory where you placed the ACMEInstall3 file (probably in C:\Program Files\Palm, Inc). Now type: novacom.exe boot mem:// < ACMEInstaller3 and press the Enter key on your keyboard. In case you can't make out where the spaces are in the above command, the syntax of the command is novacom.exespacebootspacemem://space<spaceACMEInstaller3

At this point, the USB icon should disappear from your HP TouchPad screen and you should see a lot of scrolling text (with 2 Linux Penguins on the upper left of the screen). After approximately 10 minutes, your HP TouchPad should reboot and you should get the Moboot screen similar to the screen below. The Moboot screen only lasts for ~5 seconds before defaulting to the running of CyanogenMod/Android.

After your HP Tablet reboots and you wait for the CyanogenMod boot-up to finish, you should see the familiar Android homescreen. If you've used the files that I will include in my comments section below, your HP TouchPad should be running a rooted version of Android 4.0.4 with CyanogenMod 9 (9-20130512-NIGHTLY-tenderloin).

All the programs that I would normally use on my Android phone or Android tablet (GoogleMaps, Gmail, ClockSync, Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, LinkedIn, Titanium Backup, & Google Play store) worked without any issues. Most importantly Netflix worked without any issues. I was also able to run the Unblock-Us Manager Android Application. With my configuration, I didn't have any issues watching the Netflix offerings from the different countries (Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, & Finland) using the Unblock-Us service. The XMBC application also worked without any issues (it wouldn't run on my Acer Iconia Tab A101).

In terms of the performance of Android on the HP TouchPad, I find that it works very well. I would say that it is more responsive/faster than what I get with my Android tablet (Acer Iconia Tab A101).

In the one week that I've been using it, the only thing that didn't work well is the Android Face Unlocking feature. I believe that this might be because of the HP TouchPad's somewhat unusual dimensions/resolution.

After you have CyanogenMod/Android installed on your HP TouchPad, if you want to boot up into HP webOS, you only have to reboot your device and then use the volume buttons on your HP TouchPad to scroll to the "boot webOS" option in the Moboot screen. Once the "boot webOS" option is hi-lighted, you would then use the HP TouchPad's home button to select it.

The HP TouchPad will charge using the HP Touchstone Dock regardless of whether the HP TouchPad is booted up into webOS or Android.

A good link for more information of installing Android/CyanogenMod on the HP TouchPad can be found *HERE*.

As mentioned, I ran into an issue when I tried to install a version of CyanogenMod 10 (Android 4.1) on my HP TouchPad. There wasn't an issue with the install but when I tried to manually install the Google Play store (because it didn't install it automatically), I picked the incorrect Google Play store (gApps) and the keyboard application would keep crashing and restarting making the virtual keyboard on the Android OS useless. I tried to manually install an earlier version of gApps but this didn't fix the keyboard issue. Rather than spend the time to try to troubleshoot it, I decided to revert the HP TouchPad back to as much as I could to factory defaults using the HP webOS doctor and then starting from scratch using the CyanogenMod 9. You can download the HP webOS doctor from HP's webOS website *HERE*. I will include the HP webOS doctor program along with all the files/programs mentioned in this blog entry in the comments section below later this week.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and any comment which contains a URL link (whether it is embedded or not) will automatically be labelled as spam and will not be posted.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for the delay in posting the files referred to in my blog.

    I have compressed all the files mentioned in my blog entry (with the exception of the Java installation file) into a ZIP archive file located *HERE*

    All the files that are referenced in my blog post are within the ZIP archive.

    You should be able to download it. Once downloaded, uncompress the contents into a separate folder. You will see a subfolder called "cminstall" and 3 files (ACMEInstaller3, UniversalNovacomInstaller-1.3, webosdoctorp305hstnhwifi).

    Copy the "cminstall" folder (and its contents) to the root directory of the HP TouchPad

    With the other files in the ZIP archive
    1) ACMEInstaller3 (This file should probably be placed in C:\Program Files\Palm, Inc. - according to my blog instructions/steps)
    2) UniversalNovacomInstaller-1.3 (This is the Novacom driver installation file)
    3) webosdoctorp305hstnhwifi (Hopefully you don't need this file but in case of problems, this file will help you in booting your HP TouchPad back into HP WebOS although remnants of your attempt/installation will still be present on the HP TouchPad)

    If you have any questions regarding my blog entry or these instructions or the file, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comment section. As always, the blog comments are moderated and any blog entry containing a URL link (whether or not embedded) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted