HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

touchpad intro   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]It’s been a few weeks now since HP rolled out a firmware update for their abandoned WebOS tablet and a good while since we’ve mentioned the TouchPad here at MakeUseOf. Seeing as I’m the only staff member who appears to have bought one, I figured it was about time for an update.

I still use my TouchPad fairly regularly (I don’t have an iPad, that must have something to do with it) and am still of the belief that it’s a more than capable touchscreen web surfer and media device – regardless of firesale, lack of support and software issues. Let’s see what HP have been up to recently. This article assumes you have already optimized your tablet with our very own HP TouchPad setup guide part 1 and part 2 which will introduce you to Preware, patches and overclocking.

Firmware Update

The firmware update might have raised many questions amongst those of you who have overclocked using a custom kernel. If (like me) your TouchPad updated itself without as much as an Apply update? prompt then you’ll probably have noticed your kernel stopped working with the new HP software.

govnah overclocked touchpad   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

Those of you running Uberkernel simply need to run Preware and download the safe over-the-air (OTA) update – and you’ll want to grab the latest Govnah as well. Once you’re updated, run Govnah and choose the OnDemandTCL profile to restore your overclock. Uberkernel will always be one of the safest overclocking methods and unless you’re really out for some serious speed then I’d recommend sticking with it.

Many of the other patches mentioned in our setup guide will also require updates by now, and luckily the community has responded well with plenty of updates. Again, Preware is your friend and will take care of all your update needs.

preware updates   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

Bugs, Issues, Problems…

Performance has been improved in 3.0.4, in fact I noticed it was running very smoothly even before patch and kernel updates. Unfortunately, bugs do still exist.

There is a sound distortion problem that sometimes occurs when the tablet is playing music or a video and automatically goes into sleep mode. Sound becomes tinny and compressed, and the only way of restoring sound is by manually pressing the Sleep button whilst playing audio or video. This is not related to Uberkernel, other kernels or any of the Preware patches but has been isolated as a firmware problem that even occurs in untouched TouchPads running 3.0.4. Similarly, some webpages cause what I can only describe as “screen tear” where images and text often suffer from random lines and gaps.

Another issue discovered not so long ago involves small cracks appearing near the speakers on many TouchPad units. This is a defect with the tablet’s design and whilst it’s fairly unsightly and not ideal, the problem doesn’t seem to affect operation of the device. If you’re concerned, try contacting HP and see what they offer you.

Apps Ahoy!

Whilst the TouchPad’s selection of apps isn’t anything to write home about, there are a few recent releases that are worthy of a download – especially for free.

Robotek HD

A delightful game that combines the thrill of slot machines with turn-based robot battles, Robotek HD is a free download for your TouchPad with optional in-app purchases. There’s a fairly lengthy single player campaign to work your way through as well as a multiplayer mode where you go head to head with other Robotek players.

Robotek HD is available for a wealth of systems including Android, iOS and Windows Phone, and it’s great to see that it made it to the TouchPad App Catalog as well.

TweetPad

At long last the TouchPad has a fairly responsive and easy to use Twitter client! Both the Twitter website and alternative app SpazHD are fairly laggy and not particularly nice to use on the tablet, and whilst TweetPad lacks features it is still a very usable Twitter client.

tweetpad for webos   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

Still missing is the ability to view pictures and videos in tweets (without opening a new browser window) though the layout and speed of the app is great. Currently only supporting one account at a time, TweetPad has plenty of potential and already blows SpazHD out of the water.

ScummVM

ScummVM is an adventure game emulator capable of running the likes of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and assorted other hilarious golden oldies. The TouchPad version is finally out of beta and fully operational, complete with gestures and full menu/keyboard access. You can find all the necessary instructions regarding its use in the thread mentioned below.

scummvm for webos   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

This is one app you won’t find in the App Catalog, and one app you will need Preware for. Simply visit this thread on the official ScummVM message boards and click the link to the .ipk package. If you have Preware installed it will automatically launch and guide you through the installation procedure.

Zinio

One of the best magazine readers finally makes it to the TouchPad! Providing access to lots of content across multiple platforms, Zinio really is one of the best ways to read magazines in the 21st century.

zinio for touchpad   HP TouchPad Update: New Firmware, New Apps & New Bugs [WebOS]

It’s not perfect (some users are reporting library/sync issues that need a reinstall to fix) but you do get 6 free issues for just signing up on your TouchPad – and that makes the download worthwhile.

Conclusion

The TouchPad isn’t dead yet, and it’s a relief to see some fresh development taking place. Truth be told there’s probably more active development going on in the community than on HP’s side, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you’re a TouchPad owner looking for a community to follow then check out PreCentral. Their HP TouchPad forum is always busy and features some great tips, discussions and is the best place to be if anything goes wrong with your device.

How are you getting on with your TouchPad? Any recent apps that you love? Still rocking Uberkernel? TouchPad owners, make yourselves heard in the comments below.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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8 Comments -

Tabletaholic

still have one cant decide if I should open it or sell it

Tim Brookes

Open it and play with it! If you don’t already have a tablet (rephrase: if you don’t already have an iPad) then the TouchPad will suit you well enough, despite the bugs and lack of proper support.

WebOS is a far better platform than Android for tablet computing, though this is obviously fairly subjective. It’s also great to have a community like WebOS Internals and Preware constantly innovating and fiddling with things behind the scenes.

Tim

Terence Coughlin

Thanks for the info on the sound bug, Tim.  I’ve been experiencing this after running Pandora for extended periods, and never made the connection to touchpad sleeping as root cause, nor the proper manual fix. I always did a hard reboot to resolve.

Tim Brookes

I was also hard booting to resolve this issue to start with, but seeing as that takes about 1m30s it’s a fairly slow and annoying fix! Hopefully HP identify and fix the issue in a new firmware release soon. 

I’m convinced they’ll “fix” WebOS to the point where there’s no bugs like this one and then leave it to die a fairly sad death.

Brent Coughenour Sr.

what do you mean no software no support I just ordered one hp touchpad 32 gig for 299.95 and they shipped it to me today have not got it yet and you say they are already discontinued and you cannot get regular software dont understand what is going on and all this overclock stuff and all need help when i get it should i send it back if i can

Tim Brookes

If a company recently sold you a unit for 299.95 then return it to that company. Whilst you might not find a firesale-price TouchPad any more, the prices are still fairly competitive and roughly $100-$75 cheaper than what you paid on eBay.

Hope this helps,
Tim

Brent Coughenour sr

ordered it from fingerhut to pay on time but they where the same price from tiger direct and somewhere else did I get taken or is this a joke of some kind about hp touchpads just went to sight of hp and dont find anything about them any suggestions

GW

Brent, if you have no idea what is going on with the Touchpad, why did you buy one before researchng.

Most of them bought the 32GB for $150 3 months ago, when they discontibued them. Everyone in the connected world knew then it was considered abandoned.

Bottom line is you over paid, you could have gotten one on ebay for $225 or $250 sealed in a box.