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It’s the tablet that wouldn’t die, the device that kept coming back for more, and despite HP’s dithering over whether they would continue to support webOS or not, the HP TouchPad has exceeded expectations thanks to various fire sales at popular online and offline retailers and its friendly user interface. However thanks to the lack of support from HP early on (it was decided that the company would discard the webOS platform soon after the TouchPad launched) there is a big hole in the number of official apps available for the webOS tablets.
One of these missing apps is Kindle. While you will easily find Amazon’s eBook reading app on the HP TouchPad in the USA, outside of the country (in places such as Europe and Australia) Kindle isn’t listed in the HP App Catalog. As tablets are popularly used for reading, this is clearly disappointing. Thankfully, however, there is a way of installing the webOS Kindle app on HP TouchPads in territories where the app is unavailable.
So Why Is the HP TouchPad Kindle App US-only?
Well, to begin with it depends on your definition of “US-only”. For many TouchPad users in North America, the Kindle app is an easy to use and enjoyable eBook reading experience. But these are the lucky ones. Thanks to some initial confusion or a problem with the app (the reason has never been made clear) the Amazon Kindle app was shipped with some first wave TouchPads but then removed from later devices, replaced with a placeholder “coming soon” app.
Fortunately, if your US-based TouchPad doesn’t have a working Kindle app, you can now find it via the HP App Catalog.
Preparing Your HP TouchPad
Before proceeding to install the Kindle app on your HP TouchPad, you will need to download a few tools (this method can be used on Windows and Mac OS X). The first thing you should do is head to this link and download the Kindle .ipk file. An .ipk is the installer file format used on webOS.
After doing this, download the webOS Quick Install software from here. This is a tool that allows the testing of unapproved applications on webOS devices such as the HP TouchPad, and requires you to have Java installed on your computer (available from here).
Next, connect your HP TouchPad to your computer using the supplied USB cable. The Connected dialogue box will appear, but you can select Close to continue – the USB Drive mode cannot be used for this process. You will then need to find Developer Mode, revealed by typing the following string into the search box: webos20090606
Tap the Developer Mode icon to proceed and then slide the switch in the top-right corner to activate; you may be prompted for a password, but click Submit to bypass this.
The next stage is to run the downloaded webOSQuickInstall-4.3.1.jar (you might have a different version) file and follow any prompts to download additional software (such as the Novacom driver for creating a stable connection between your computer and the tablet).
Installing The Kindle App
With all of the above installed and running, adding the Kindle app – which is in beta so might be slightly unreliable at times – is a simple task.
The webOS Quick Install application on your desktop computer will display a largely empty screen with a handful of buttons, including + and – on the right-hand side. Click the + button to browse for the previously downloaded Kindle .ipk, which will have a filename in the form of com.palm.app.kindle_0.11.499820_all.ipk (although the version number at the end may differ). Select this file and then click the Install button and wait a few moments.
When the process is complete the .ipk file will no longer be listed in the Files to Install section of the webOS Quick Install application, so you will be free to close the software (it can be relaunched by running webOSQuickInstall-4.3.1.jar).
Next, double-tap the menu button on your HP TouchPad and go to the Downloads tab where you will find the Amazon Kindle app listed. Tap to launch and enter your credentials (or register) to continue.
A few moments later, the main screen of the app will appear. If you have used Kindle in the past, your books will be listed; otherwise you will be prompted to visit the Amazon Kindle store, where you will find free and paid-for titles to download direct to your TouchPad.
Reading Books On Your TouchPad
Amazon’s Kindle app provides similar functionality to tablets and mobile phones as can be found on the popular dedicated eBook reader. Utilizing an Amazon account and providing access to the Kindle store, the app allows the user to download free out-of-copyright titles (such as the works of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens) as well as find the latest titles to download and read on their device.
With versions available for Mac, iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone, Kindle apps extend the functionality of the dedicated device to users of other hardware, often those for whom an Amazon Kindle app would be desirable if it didn’t mean carrying multiple devices. The HP TouchPad version of Kindle is just as good as the others and will allow you to download and enjoy books on your tablet wherever you are.
If you are a HP Touchpad owner, and you tried to download the Kindle app using this method, let us know if you were successful. Or maybe you know of another way to install the Kindle app on the Touchpad?