Cube

HP Touchpad

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Well, the HP Touchpad has been discontinues by HP and as a result the prices went massively downhill - as low as £89. I managed to pick one up after previously stating that I have no use for a tablet, even though I was impressed by iPad 2. I know plenty of other people have got one, so I’ll include tips on apps and making it better (or rather, include handy links to places the tips are from)

 

The Good

 

The Browser. There is one pretty important things that sets this apart from the iPad: Flash. In particular, flash videos. Sites like the BBC iPlayer, Gametrailers, TGWTG, etc all work within the browser extremely smoothly (depending on connection speed, obviously) without the need for an App to replace flash. Opening multiple windows is very easy and you can have different groups of windows. I’ll say more about this later.

 

Tip: Add to Launcher. On top of standard bookmark features, you can add a website to the launcher (where you access all other apps from). Handy for stuff like BBC iPlayer and Google+.

 

browser_2011-27-08_010612.png

 

I’ve tested it on a range of websites and was very pleased by the browsing expedience. Everything is resized to match the resolution of the Touchpad and text looks extremely smooth on the Touchpad’s lovely screen. Shops like eBay and Amazon work perfectly in the browser, negating the need for an app to exist. The only site I was disappointed with was Gmail - the standard interface doesn’t work well with touch. While the Touchpad does have a good email client, it’s still not as good (for Gmail users) as the fancy version that iPad users get through the browser. I would hope that Google would allow access of this version of Gmail through other devices at some point in the future.

 

I was very impressed with forums - for some reason they look stunning on the Touchpad’s screen (the ones I tried were N-Europe, CVG and XDA Developers) and everything is really easy to read. Having access to all the Youtube vidoes from within the page is very handy too.

 

There are a few small nitpicks I have. First, you can’t organise the bookmarks. The latest ones are higher above the list and that’s it. Secondly, some sites give you notifications for adding the search engine to it’s search engine directory.

 

The Keyboard. The keys are nicely spaced out, and it has numbers above the letters for easy access. Symbols are also very easy to use, either from a separate page or by holding some of the keys. There is also a very handy tab button, making filling in forms very easy. These few slight additions puts it miles ahead of the iPad in terms of usability. I do think that giving us the option for text prediction - as seen in smartphone keyboard - would speed up typing even further. I would adore using a tablet version of Swiftkey X. The keyboard is also surprisingly easy to use while holding the Touchpad in one hand.

 

browser_2011-27-08_010847.png

 

The Interface.The interface is rather lovely. After an app is opened you can press the Home button to return to the Home Menu. Here you’ll find the apps in windowed form. These windows update in real-time, so you can quickly see when a page is loaded, a refresh is complete, or what music is playing. If an app causes another one to open (such as opening a tab in a browser) then those will be grouped together. To close an app to simply slide it up the screen (i.e. throw it away). The action is strangely satisfying. The bottom bar gives you quick access to the Browser, Email. Calender, Chat, Photos and the All Apps button. Everything is really well presented and it makes nice use of the space available on a tablet.

 

browser_2011-27-08_010510.png

 

The Bad

The bad stuff is really just a selection of minor flaws (like the two browser ones mentioned above), and one rather big one. The big one being app support, which, due to the discontinuation of the Touchpad, probably won’t be improving anytime soon. There are still some good apps but overall it’s very limited.

 

A bug with the Touchpad that I’ve encountered is headphones with controls (i.e. ones you get for phones). Some of these - like my HTC Headphones - will not stop the speakers from also playing the music. Regular headphones work as expected. Also, some apps can be rotated fully while others can’t. My preference is holding it with the Home Button on the left while some apps, and some flash videos, force me to rotate it by 180 degrees.

 

The Guide

 

One you’ve got things set up, the first thing to do is make some changes to speed up your device. This involves installing Preware - software that allows unofficial apps to be installed on the Touchpad. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it (taken from here).

 

1. In the search bar type in “webos20090606â€.

2. Turn on Developer Mode

3. Download WebOS Quick Install on your PC from here.

4. Connect your Touchpad to your PC. Do not turn on USB Drive mode.

5. Run WebOS Quick Install, follow the instructions to install the drivers.

6. Click on the store and search for Preware. Install it.

7. That’s it.

 

Also in the WebOS Quick Install are things that can speed up your Touchpad. These are found under the Patches and the recommended ones are (these are taken from here):

 

ad blocker

remove tap ripple

Increase Touchpad Volume (lite)

faster card animations

hyper versionincrease touch sensitivity and smoothness 10

muffle system logging

quiet powered messages

remove dropped packet logging

unset cfq io scheduler

unthrottle download manager

 

These will make things run better, downloads faster and the touch screen much more responsive. As well as blocking ads.

 

There also details for overclocking in the above link, but that isn’t as neccesary.

The Apps

 

Spotify

 

For me, this is very important. Unfortunately, it’s not properly supported by the Touchpad but, with a little bit of hassle, you can get the phone WebOS version working. There’s a really good guide here to get it running. One further bit of advice for that guide is that you’ll need to get Internalz Pro (it’s free) from the WebOS Quick Install, as described above.

 

Once that’s all done with, it works really well. Providing you’re a Premium Subscriber, you’ll be able to access all your playlists and make them available offline. It will also sync with music stored on your PC providing they’re both on the same network (like the Android version). The app is tiny on the screen but it’s only for selecting music. The app creates a Spotify section in the Notification Bar you can pause/skip from there without having to access the app.

 

Facebook Tablet

 

While initially the tablet layout is very impressive, it’s ultimately something to look at occasionally as it’s not functional. The standard view of the app is perfectly functional, though.

 

Mosaic Reader

 

A very impressive RSS reader. It have a gorgeous tablet layout (a standard, boring list layout is also available) and you can import feeds from Google Reader. Unfortunately it doesn’t sync back read items with Google Reader but it’s still really nice to use.

 

TapNote Lite

 

Handy for when you don’t have an Internet connection to use Google Docs. TapNote is a fairly basic, yet effective, word processor app.

 

Robotek HD

 

A free game with odd gameplay. It’s a turn-based battler mixed with a slot machine. The stylised graphics are very nice and the gameplay is unique and fun. I’m not sure why, but something about it reminds me ot chick chick BOOM on WiiWare.

 

Epicurious

I can’t give a proper review of this as I don’t cook often, but it’s very nice to look at enyway. It’s a recipe app with thousands of recipes and some nice features, such as adding the ingredients of recipes to a shopping list.

Edited by Cube

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I also picked up one of these in the sale and it arrived yesterday but only got a chance to play around this morning.

 

One thing that did bug me was the fact that the standard OpenOffice app organises Google Docs in alphabetical order, whereas I tend to prefer date. Will check into the one you recommend. Oh and actually I can't seem to find chat on the Facebook app but not given it a proper look.

 

Enjoying it so far but ultimately just waiting for Android to become available on it.

Edited by Ashley

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Enjoying it so far but ultimately just waiting for Android to become available on it.

 

There's a shoddy port of Android 2.2 already available (but not many people have tested it properly), so hopefully it won't be too long until 2.4 or 3.2 get ported to it. Although it would be a shame to ditch the WebOS interface.

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There's a shoddy port of Android 2.2 already available (but not many people have tested it properly), so hopefully it won't be too long until 2.4 or 3.2 get ported to it. Although it would be a shame to ditch the WebOS interface.

 

It will be in one way but its part of the reason I got it (although if it never happens so be it). I'm in no rush though, I'll wait until things are stable.

 

I'm doing a wedding next weekend and would be nice to use this to show photos off during the reception. I have a USB card reader but obviously on the touchpad its just a micro usb. Is it possible to either get a micro to normal USB thing and then just plug the card reader straight in or to get a USB to USB connector thing? As in connect the USB end of the touchpad cable to the USB end of the card reader.

 

Asking more do these items exist rather than "would it work" as I can test that myself.

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Cheers. I'll try taking it into one of the local electronic shops and ask if I can try it first.

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No no, the TouchPad does not have USB Host support.

 

You can't directly upload stuff to it like this. You need to transfer it from a computer.

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I sold mine to my brother. For £89 it was a bargain, but I wasn't happy with how it ran or the build quality. The keyboard was fantastic and I liked the WebOS UI, but it's sluggish (my first gen iPad runs quicker and smoother). App support isn't really there either, and the cloud services that I currently use were either non-existent or only had unofficial apps that are really poor compared to those on other platforms.

 

When it came down to it, the Touchpad wouldn't suit me as well as the iPad already does, as such I couldn't keep it without regretting it. There's no good office software available, Dropbox and Evernote only have a rather poor unofficial apps, there's no way to connect a camera/memory card to the device to transfer photos over and I couldn't find a decent ebook reader (Kindle being oddly US-Only on the Touchpad). The only upshot of the Touchpad is it's Flash support, though that becomes less of a selling point every day (of the sites you mentioned, only TGWTG lacks HTML5 support) and in some cases isn't a great thing (iPlayer and Gametrailers, for example, seemed to default to Flash on the Touchpad, which is silly when there's an alternative available that runs more efficiently on mobile devices).

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I love...LOVE webOS. I've been using a Palm Pre Plus for 2 years now and its such a good smartphone OS.

 

I'm not sure how good it translates to tablet though because they sold out of these buggers so fast in the US i couldn't get my hands on one.

 

Since both Palm and HP insist on delivering the OS on dated hardware, i hope HTC or Samsung , or even Sony nab the license and do something great with it

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There's a pretty important update. Go to the Software Manager and hit the apps update button.

 

One of the updates will be QuickOffice. The update adds the ability to create/edit documents. You can save/copy stuff to and from Google Docs. It isn't a proper syncing, but it is still good.

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Wish I hadn't missed out on this dammit!!!! Even if it was for just browsing web in bed would have been better than laptop!

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There will be some kind of second shipment.

 

But none of that shipment is heading to the UK.

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I popped into Carphone Warehouse today; was told they can order one in from the warehouse - apparently, they have 168 available. However, when trying to actually place that order system says no.

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There's a pretty important update. Go to the Software Manager and hit the apps update button.

 

One of the updates will be QuickOffice. The update adds the ability to create/edit documents. You can save/copy stuff to and from Google Docs. It isn't a proper syncing, but it is still good.

 

I can't seem to get this to work. When I find it through software update all I can do is report a problem.

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For those waiting for Android: The latest version of Gingerbread will be available very soon. They just need to get WiFi working and a few bugs sorted out.

 

The best news is they'll release it as a dual boot.

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I don't think TouchDroid are going to be releasing very much. It turns out that the "progress" that they were making was mostly code stolen from Cyanogen Mod's repo. Cyanogen had been secretly working on a Touchpad port of Android, hoping to announce it only when they had something worth releasing, but they've had to announce early after being tipped off (they were given private chat logs of a conversation between TouchDroid devs where they were blatantly discussing stealing CM code and passing it off as their own because "nobody would be able to prove it).

 

On the upshot, CyanogenMod 7 running on a Touchpad:

 

 

Just the Wifi drivers to go and they might have something worth releasing.

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That holder thing freaks me the fuck out. But glad to see some progress being made :)

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I'm after one of these, but I missed getting one on Amazon by seconds (I live in Spain, so I can't order off Dixons, PC World, etc), if there's anyone who's looking into selling their's, send me a PM (I'm avoiding eBay at the moment due to the absurd inflation of prices there, I'm not willing to play 200 quid + delivery for one.

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If you're having problems with the browser loading old versions of pages, then you can disable your cache by following the instructions here (check the bottom of the first post for a quite easy way to do it).

 

The cache issues are most noticeable on forums as you would constantly have to refresh.

 

Pages also seem to load faster without the cache.

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