Welcome to WebOS, an operating system that will never compare to iOS for speed (and limitations) but in many ways puts the fragmented mess that is Android-on-tablets to shame. Many believed that WebOS 3.0 would have real potential in the portable market – but the TouchPad changed that.
The interface simply isn’t silky smooth. Launching apps and scrolling through lists can appear choppy at times, and if (like me) you’re used to Apple’s iOS on an iPhone or similar you’ll be left thinking: where did HP go wrong?
Luckily the homebrew community is here to patch up WebOS and get your TouchPad running faster, smoother and better than it did when it left the factory.
Update WebOS & Install Java
The first thing you should do (and should probably have already done by now) is update your HP TouchPad’s firmware to the latest release. At the time of writing, this is version 3.0.2 which aimed to fix a number of speed and stability issues. On your TouchPad bring up the app launcher and navigate to Settings.
Choose System Updates (the icon is a present) and follow the prompts to update your tablet. This shouldn’t take long as depending on your internet connection, the update will take about 15 minutes to apply during which point you’ll be unable to use it. Once this is done, you’ll probably notice things are a little more responsive (especially the Email app) but your tablet is still a bit jittery and slow.
Next you’ll need to grab Java for your PC, if you don’t already have it. Head over to the Java homepage and download the framework if necessary. Java is required as the program you will use to “homebrew” your TouchPad is a .JAR file. This file should work on any major OS, though you’ll need to sort out the correct drivers so your PC can talk to your tablet.
Note: This walkthrough uses Windows. Mac users should have fewer issues using a similar method as the TouchPad is Mac compatible, but Linux users may need to hunt around for drivers in order to use this method.
Now that Java is installed you can prepare your tablet for homebrew using Preware, a collection of repositories that contain applications, patches and other tweaks for any WebOS device. Download the WebOS Quick Installer from here and run it, without your tablet connected. You will be prompted to install the Novacom driver (which you need, so go ahead) and then warned there is no device connected to your PC – which is fine. Exit the program once you’re done.
Now pick up your tablet. In the “Just type…” box on your home screen type: 20090606. You will see an option pop up for Developer Mode. Tap it, enable it but leave the password field blank, hit Submit and then exit.
Note: This process won’t work without this step, so if you’re having trouble make sure you’ve done this properly.
Finally you can plug your TouchPad in to your PC. Do not put it into USB mass storage mode, simply dismiss the dialog and put it down. Now you’re ready to run WebOS Quick Install again – your device will appear in drop down box in the top right-hand corner of the application.
Next click the refresh button and wait for package information to download. When this has completed select the Applications tab, choose Preware and click install. It should take about 30 seconds. Once you’re done simply exit the program and safely remove your TouchPad.
Reduce Logging & Patch ‘em Up
Congratulations, you made it this far and you no longer need a PC – all homebrews can be installed directly to your device via the new Preware application you’ll find in the app launcher, under Downloads. But wait – first you’ll want to minimize logging, which your TouchPad does a lot of (and thus suffers performance-wise). Open the Phone & Video Calls app and bring up the dialer.
Note: To do this you’ll either need a WebOS phone (simply pair via Bluetooth, voila – a dialer) or Skype account. Skype is probably the only solution for a lot of people, so set up your account (or a dummy account if you don’t have one) that will allow you access to the dialer.
Into the dialer type: ##5647# then tap call. The logging window will launch, and you’ll want to choose Clear Logs first before tapping Change Logging Levels and setting logging to minimal. Once done, exit the app – your logging levels are now changed.
Launch the Preware app you installed earlier and allow the packages to update. Finally, you’re ready to install some patches. The app layout is simple, you’ll find apps in Applications, patches in Patches and plenty of other tools in other categories. Once you’ve chosen something, a tap of Install will action your request.
To speed up your TouchPad, the following homebrew tweaks are highly recommended, simply browse your way around or search for each from the Preware home screen using the magnifying glass icon in the top right:
- EOM Overlord Monitoring
- Muffle System Logging
- Remove Dropped Packet Logging
- Unset CFQ IQ Scheduler
- Unthrottle Download Manager
- Increase Touch Sensitivity and Smoothness 10
- Quiet Powerd Messages (sic)
- Faster Card Animations HYPER Version
- Ad Blocker OR Max Block – Do not install both.
- Private Browsing (adds an option to your browser)
Each patch you tap displays a description of what it does, with most designed to reduce logging and provide general speed enhancements. Some websites have issues with Ad Blocker or Max Block (such as CBS.com), but anything you install is easy to remove via the Installed Packages menu on the Preware homescreen.
Congratulations, now restart your device and enjoy a far more responsive TouchPad with a few extra tweaks and functions added for good measure. Feel free to peruse the Preware catalog, it’s very difficult to break your device this way though remember most of the content is designed for Pre phones (not 1024×768 tablets).
You now have access to hundreds of patches and homebrew creations, and hopefully a speedier tablet. If WebOS still seems to chug a bit then worry not, as next time I’ll be walking you through a far more exciting process: overclocking your HP TouchPad.
Don’t miss it!
Did you buy a cheap TouchPad? Disappointed? Pleased? Did the patches help? Any cool homebrew we need to be told about? Let it all out in the comments!