Web Culture

HP TouchPad Setup Guide Part 1: Speed Up Your Tablet With Preware, Homebrew & Patches [WebOS]

Tim Brookes 05-09-2011

hp touchpadWelcome to WebOS So You Bought A TouchPad: 5 Uses For Your "Dead" Tablet PC The dust has settled and by now you should either be bitterly disappointed or overjoyed at the bargain you just snagged. If you were lucky enough to grab yourself a firesale HP TouchPad or are... Read More , 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.
hp touchpad
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 The Wonder & Beauty Of Java Applets [Technology Explained] Read More , 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.


Install Preware

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.
hp touchpad apps
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.
hp touchpad apps
Note: This process won’t work without this step, so if you’re having trouble make sure you’ve done this properly.
hp touchpad apps
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.
hp touchpad tablet
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.
hp touchpad tablet

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.
hp touchpad tablet
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.
HP TouchPad Setup Guide Part 1: Speed Up Your Tablet With Preware, Homebrew & Patches [WebOS] tp logging
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.

HP TouchPad Setup Guide Part 1: Speed Up Your Tablet With Preware, Homebrew & Patches [WebOS] tp prewarehome
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.
hp touchpad
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!


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  1. gRISEL
    December 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    few hours delay in installing the program?

  2. J Mallen
    November 28, 2011 at 11:23 am

    how do you install a vidoe player on this touch pad. I have loaded several videos and clips from my computer but cant see any sign of them on the touch pad

    • Tim Brookes
      November 30, 2011 at 7:30 am

      You should download TouchPlayer from Preware. There is also a fairly good video player available in the App Catalog called KalemSoft Media Player but it costs and I haven't bought it.

      TouchPlayer is a bit lacking in features but it gets the job done, provided you're not going for HD MKVs or something (currently all decoding is done by the processor).

  3. Hromeo
    November 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Just released WebS 3.04.x    my less than week old touch pad is more responsive after the upgrade from 3.03.x

  4. Fsufan0025
    October 25, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I did it but when I go to preware it says unable to run command:/usr/bin/ipkg-o/media/cryptofs/apps update2>&1  what did I do wrong  I cant get to patches or anything !!

  5. Darren
    October 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Well, I've been looking into what it takes to write apps for the touchpad.  I gave up on writing apps for iOS just due to the saturation.  I believe that I can find a place to live happily on this platform where it will have just enough traction that people will appreciate what I write, but won't be inundated with apps that are similar.

    • Robert
      October 21, 2011 at 3:06 am

      That is good news Darren.  We all appreciate your desire to further the WebOS platform by writing more apps for it!  Maybe this effort that is a foot to port these TPs over to Android has put some fire back into the developer camps to keep going with this OS.  Personally I don't see why some people are saying that is is a lame OS.  I like it a lot.  And just yesterday HP pushed out a new 3.04 update for the WebOS.  So looks like the Android porting effort for the TP is putting some fire under their keisters as well....whata ya think?

  6. Robert
    October 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Is it OK to do this preware installation now that HP has pushed out a
    new Webos update (3.04) today (10-18-11)?  Will it be safe to follow
    this guide as it is today 10-18-11 or will there be a different guide
    and a newer version of preware to use with the new HP updated system
    software for the TP?


    • Tim Brookes
      October 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Robert,

      Some of the patches noted here might not even be required once you've updated to 3.04, and those that will make the difference will inevitably be ported over fairly soon. I updated to 3.04 without realising and now Uberkernel is not doing its thing and my many patches have been deactivated, though to be honest the update fixes a lot of bugs and generally speeds things up considerably compared to 3.03.

      This thread on Precentral might help clear some things up, many people have asked and some responses are directly from the authors of patches and overclocks over at WebOS Internals.

      Preware should update your patches and overclocks for you as new versions become available, so that's always a good place to start. 


  7. Arc
    October 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I got two of these 16 and 64 gig I think they are brill, what's the big deal with apps.
    it does flash, so full web

  8. Lexiz75
    September 10, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    is there a way to get a fix for drop list buttons?

    • Tim Brookes
      September 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

      I've heard that the "Increase Touch Sensitivity and Smoothness 10" patch can affect drop lists and cut/paste, though I've not had that much trouble myself.

      What is the issue you're encountering?


  9. Mitch65
    September 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    these things are great tablets!!!!   didn't gwet the fire sale price but found a couple 32 gig boxes for me and the wife... honestly 600 or 700 bucks for a tablet ? no way BUT 230.00 delivered and once tweaked it is a great piece of equipment!!!   can't wait for the andriod porting.

  10. Roger510
    September 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

    I overclocked my touchpad and love it!

  11. rogue
    September 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

    More apps will come, HP say they are not giving up on webOS. Agree with comment above, this is an awesome tablet for the price!

  12. Test
    September 7, 2011 at 4:30 am

    anyone who knocks this pad for 150 bucks needs to get their heads checked.  Seriously.

    • Steffen Thieringer
      September 22, 2011 at 2:20 am

      Absolutely. I got my 16GB for $91 shipped. Preware and the patches really help enormously. Really a bummer HP allowed a tablet to be shipped soo slow but so easily to speed up. They had it in their hands but had no interest. Apotheker has to get fired, and luckily they are working that

  13. Eddie Cooper
    September 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I missed the firesale but got a Touchpad 32GB on ebay for less than 1/2 the original price so still a good deal. :)

    I use CyanogenMOD Android on my phone (HD2) so looking forward to them releasing a fully working ROM to supercharge the Touchpad.

    webOS feels nice but lacking core features - Preware has a least allowed me to install TouchPlayer so I can play DivX/Xvid on my tab... seriously HP left this off??

    Big thanks to the devs who contribute to Preware & all the apps within!

  14. Trippio
    September 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Preware makes a Big difference. Great article. Touchpad is a Great 10" product for under $250. Don't install "increase touch sensitivity" patch as it disrupts the cut/copy/paste popup.

    • Tim Brookes
      September 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks for the tip. Can't say I've noticed the issue myself, except in Spaz HD which I gave up on full stop!

      Preware is indeed awesome!

  15. Thisisian
    September 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I'm looking for a way to install the kindle app on a u.k spec touchpad. I understand the kindle beta is U.S. only. ....can you help?

    • Tim Brookes
      September 6, 2011 at 10:35 am


      I know that the Kindle team do intend to bring the app to the UK, and it's very annoying that they haven't done so already.

      There are a few forum posts on this topic on the PreCentral forums, in particular this one. As you can see from that thread there are workarounds, or there's the option of waiting for the official release!

      Hope this helps,

  16. Anonymous
    September 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I bought one in the firesale and spent about 30m being excited and then 5 days trying to make it work the way I wanted it to. The apps just aren't there. I had already done preware and hacked it up but it's still not good enough for me - especially reading books and watching avis. Debating returning/selling it. Someone tell me why I shouldn't.

    • Graham Lacey
      September 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      I'm going to give mine to my mother for webcam use, browsing etc. That's about what it's good for. It's a lovely device but 'appless' as you say. 

      Thanks for the article - very useful. 

      • Anonymous
        September 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

        I spent a couple hours playing the free version of Angry Birds then got cranky & shut it off. I wanted it to be more but it's really not.

      • Tim Brookes
        September 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

        Glad you enjoyed, next one's about overclocking so be sure to check that out!

    • Tim Brookes
      September 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

      If you've not overclocked it yet then you might want to wait for my next article which runs through the procedure. Certainly speeds it up, though remember it is a bit like a PC in the sense that you'll probably want to restart it every few days.

      Memory leaks and such. All in all, it's a competent media player (MKVs are a little choppy, but once TouchPlayer [see Preware] taps into the GPU that will settle down a bit too) and a great way to browse the web or read email from a tablet interface.

      If you're disappointed with WebOS then there's always the possibility of an Android port (not to mention Ubuntu already runs, to an extent).

      • Anonymous
        September 7, 2011 at 12:56 am

        I haven't done that yet although I read the forum over on precentral and was not confident it would be worthwhile. And booting into Ubuntu would effectively void my warranty which I'm not willing to do until I'm sure I want to keep it.

        So if overclocking adds nothing more than smoother playback then it's still not worth it. However an Android port would please me enormously - it's just no guaranteed to come yet.  

        But I will keep an open mind :)

        • steveb
          October 8, 2011 at 3:16 am

          If your going to return it, return it my way.  I got two and they are great for browsing the web, email, a few decent games (try SNES emulator!).  For 99 bucks how can you complain?  Apps are a little on the sad side but I'm thinking that with all those touchpads sold during the firesale that some devs may get onboard...  If not, Android sounds like it will just be a matter of months.

      • Jeand01247
        September 10, 2011 at 2:06 am

        please help me, i've connected wifi at several locations. now I'm home and getting msg "ip configuration failed"