Web Culture

The Secret Of Changing Backgrounds On The HP TouchPad

Christian Cawley 15-03-2012

hp touchpad change backgroundAs popular as the HP TouchPad has proven to be following its price crash (none of the Android tablet manufacturers has a larger market share), what it really needs is some good exposure.


One way of achieving this is to head out and use your tablet in cafes and bistros so people can see it in action. While you can no longer find the TouchPad for $99 those that are still available remain affordable, so it is worth spreading the word. The only problem with this is that by default, the HP TouchPad home screen looks a little dull…

Looking at a boring plain background isn’t going to pique anyone’s interest but fortunately there are various ways in which you can liven up the HP TouchPad with fun, attractive wallpapers. These devices have a selection of images stored natively which can be applied; there is also the option to add your own backgrounds.

Native Background Choices

In order to check what options for background images are available natively, you can open the Launcher (the arrow in the lower-right corner) and select Settings > Screen & Lock where you will find the Change Wallpaper option.

hp touchpad change background

Using the Select a File dialogue box you can then browse through your collection of images. These might have either been saved to your tablet, downloaded from a website, synced via a social network or be one of those that are provided natively.

change background on touchpadTo select a native option, open the Wallpapers directory, then the appropriate sub-directory and tap one of the displayed options. This will now become the new wallpaper and lock screen image on your HP TouchPad.

Adding Your Own Wallpaper

Don’t be limited by the native options – there are plenty of ways in which you can source images to use as wallpaper on your TouchPad.

The following options all require that you use the steps described above to apply the wallpaper image.

First, you can take advantage of the tablet’s front-facing camera to create an image that can be used as wallpaper. This might not be wholly flexible as getting an idea of the item you’re snapping (assuming it isn’t you!) can prove tricky without a viewfinder, but it can prove a useful option. Photos are stored on your TouchPad in the Photo roll directory.

You might alternatively download an image from the web. To do this, open a web page, find the image you wish to use and long-tap (or tab-and-hold) the image to display the context menu. Here, choose the Copy To Photos option to save to your tablet (you can also use Set Wallpaper to apply it instantly).

A third way of adding your own wallpaper to your HP TouchPad is to select an image that has been synced to your device via a social network. For instance if you use the Facebook app then any images that you have saved on that service will be synced to your tablet, stored in a folder with the same name as that on the social network.

So, you have three great options for finding and applying new backgrounds to your HP TouchPad. Surely there can’t be any more?

Wallpaper Switcharoo Lite

Available from the HP App Catalog (available only on webOS devices), Wallpaper Switcharoo Lite is a very useful free app that not only allows you to set a random wallpaper based on a preferred category (or group of categories) it will also change the wallpaper from time to time, thereby keeping the background and lock screen looking fresh!

change background on touchpad
After downloading, open Wallpaper Switcharoo Lite from the Downloads menu in the Launcher. Begin by browsing through the categories, where you will find images grouped into such options as Architecture, Space and Cute (and many others beside).

hp touchpad change background

With your choice selected, flick the On/Off switch to make Switcharoo Active and then alter your timing – you can choose anything from a change of background every 5 minutes to once a week.

When done, tap the Switch Now button and enjoy the wallpaper!

A premium version of this app is available with a larger selection of images. However you should find that the lite version is more than sufficient.


It is good to see so many options for alternative wallpaper/lock screen images on the HP TouchPad. While the native options might be sufficient for most, the options Wallpaper Switcharoo features can really bring your TouchPad to life, particularly if you are a power user.

The flexibility of the web download option, creating images from the camera and third party options makes this yet another excellent reason in favour of the HP TouchPad.

Let us know if you have found any other webOS wallpaper apps that you would like to share.

Explore more about: Wallpaper, Web OS.

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  1. james888
    March 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I would love to see more webos articles. Thanks for this one

  2. Christian Cawley
    March 16, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I'm not sure quoting figures released (14th March) after the article was written (5th March) is *entirely* fair...

    I can't find the actual source figures but this (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/hp-touchpad-top-selling-tablet-in-us-after-ipad-study/articleshow/10836852.cms) cites the same source.

    This is of course in the run up top Christmas, but again as there were no confirmed Q4 figures for all platforms when I started the piece...

    • muotechguy
      March 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

      I see. Crucially, those stats dont include the Kindle fire, given that they are from november, and a hell of a lot has changed since then. Fair enough. I think its fair to say the statement is now completely wrong, so I accept your retraction :P

  3. muotechguy
    March 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

    "none of the Android tablet manufacturers has a larger market share" - where on earth did you pull that one from? The Kindle Fire has a current market share of 16% - WELL above any of the competing Android tablets, and the touchpad is but a speck on that.

    Other stats from 2011:

    *assuming* that the other category is virtually all touchpads, it works out as: [http://www.bgr.com/2011/10/21/sa-global-tablet-shipments-balloon-280-in-q3-apple-owned-67-of-market/]

    iOS 66.6% (11.1 million units)
    Android 26.9% (4.5 million units)
    Others 2.9% (500,000 units)
    Microsoft 2.4% (400,000 units)
    QNX 1.2% (200,000 units)

    Sorry, didnt read the rest of the article, just had a bone to pick there. I mean, I hate Android tablets as much as the next guy, but claiming the Touchpad is outselling the Kindle Fire is insane.