October 9, 2011
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Week ago last Friday we received the HP Touchpad I ordered as part of the employee special in the US. I was going to post a Pic the second it got here but instead decided to wait and post my impressions after working with it for a while. Well after having it more than a week I can say this is one fun yet functional device. I remember looking at an original iPad a while back and not really liking it. Then looking at the androids and liking them but just could not justify the expense (~$300 for a decent one). When I heard the announcement on the HP Touchpad I looked into it but the cost (499$) is what a netbook or economy laptop cost. So when HP started these fire sale on the devices I tried to get one. However, I was working a big project that weekend and didn’t hear about it until long after they sold out.
Hoping that HP would have an employee sale, I started looking into the device more. I found out that the devs over at XDA developers were working on a Android port for the Touchpad and I then I figured “hey if WebOS doesn’t turn out I can always flash it to Android like I did with my HTC tilt 2 last year”. Well the sale finally came. I was able to sag one and it only took ~36 hours to show up (Good job HP!!!).
For the last week I have been working on it with my wife and the kids, and of course discovering some of the games like Tanked (which allows up to 4 players on the device or I can play again someone on my Pre2!). Bottom line I have to say I am happy with WebOS and wont be switching to Android. Now I will still load up the dual boot on an SD card to check it out but I don’t think I will be re flashing it. In addition, my wife is starting to like it, so most likely it will become her device.
The thing that converted me was not something you get standard on the device, it is called Preware. It is a homebrew app store that has a ton of applications, themes, patches and tweaks for WebOS devices (which can brick your phone / touchpad if you’re not careful). With that I was able to patch the functionality on the browser (and other areas) so that it works a lot more like a desktop one (hold click to bring up a context menu and such). Also the browser experience on the WebOS is very fast and in many cases is better than my Vista Laptop or Linux Mint workstation running Firefox and Chrome. I have only found 1 website that would not work on it but it was an obscure one with lots of custom flash. One other thing they have is a patch for the Bluetooth driver that allows your WebOS device to pair with a Lego Mindstorm NXT. Not sure what I will do with that yet but it does sound promising.
Defiantly hoping HP will restart manufacturing and realize that the issues was price point and not feature set. In face the only thing that I have not been able to find was a decent mapping software. The integrated Google or Bing maps on WebOS devices lets you see maps and plan routes but don’t do turn by turn. Nav-It that is available from preware kind of works but is not stable and is hard to use. That is only thing I missed about my old HTC Tilt 2 with Windows Mobile (before I put Android on it) is Bing. That is one of the best mobile apps by far and in my opinion the only think Microsoft got right on pre-Windows Phone 7 devices.
More updates to follow.
September 21, 2011
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Here is another example of a great port for Silverlight. http://jeffreystedfast.blogspot.com/2011/04/moonlight-on-android.html. This shows moonlight (the unix version of Silverlight) running on an Android tablet and phone. Given that they switched all of us at work to the Palm Pre 2 and HP Veer, this has me wondering what it would take to port Moonlight over to HP WebOS.