HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad originally ran Android. Or at least it was going to. Point is, it was an Android tablet before it was a webOS tablet before it was an Android tablet again

That revelation (new to some, not so secret or surprising to others) comes from Josh Marinacci, formerly of webOS developer relations, writing in response to the epic recap from The Verge of the rise and fall of former smartphone manufacturer Palm. Chris Ziegler's piece is well worth reading. I cut my teeth on a Palm Treo. Marinacci's post also has some interesting nuggets in it. That the TouchPad was designed by HP with Android in mind isn't that big a surprise. It certainly explains that one FrankenPad that appeared to come from Qualcomm with an actual native build of Android on board. Marinacci puts it thusly:

"The hardware design for the touchpad came from HP. It was designed before the acquisition and originally ran Android. That's why you'll occasionally hear rumors of a touchpad the shipped with Android on it. That's also why the specs were a bit anemic when it shipped over a year later."

Another section caught my eye, where Marinacci talks about how the original Motorola Droid didn't necessarily kill off the Palm Pre Plus -- it was Verizon. Or, more specifically, that retail employees never got behind the Pre Plus, instead going for the Droid.

"In the U.S., at least, a phone lives or dies by the retail staff in the carrier stores. Nothing else matters. Not price. Not features. Not apps. If the retail staff doesn't like you ... you die."

True enough, even in the Android microcosm. It's something to remember.

Source: Josh Marinacci; more: webOS Nation


Reader comments

HP TouchPad originally was to be an Android tablet, ex-webOSer writes


The last statement is very true. I heard sprint reps debating over the pre and evo when the original evo came out saying: "the pre and webos was better than android and you just need to actually give it a shot".

Not that I agree with him but, WebOS was brilliant and it was Palm and HPs fault for not letting other companies use the OS. It could have went far...very far

"In the U.S., at least, a phone lives or dies by the retail staff in the carrier stores. Nothing else matters. Not price. Not features. Not apps. If the retail staff doesn't like you ... you die."

So true. I remember when I walked into Verizon Wireless to purchase the Palm Pre Plus. The reps actually tried to talk me out of buying the phone and tried very hard to sell me an Android phone. I kept the phone for about a year a switched over to Android, but WebOS was truly awesome. But..."in the coming months" became too much to take.

Placed my pre-order for the Galaxy SIII today. Very happy with Android!!!

same here. wife and i both had pres on sprint. i moved away from the pre (to android) when it was apparent that they were never going to update a webos phone on sprint. when we moved to verizon, i got my wife the pre2 since it was familiar for her. man, that is the phone they shouldve released in the first place! at the vzw store getting it, the salesman kept asking in a very condescending tone, "why do you want the pre? dont you want [insert some other phone]. why do you want that?" the wife and i got really pissed off because we knew what we wanted but were being judged by a salesman there. anyway, once hp said they were done with webos, i switched the wife to android.

webos is still an amazing os...it just never got its chance...for many many reasons.

I still have my OG Sprint Palm Pre. I've been seriously thinking of pulling it out and putting Android on it though, and making it a dedicated music streaming device hooked to my stereo.

retail staff didn't like the Pre because it sucked relative to the competition. if your product is good it sells itself. if it sucks, it sucks. there is no conspiracy.

Eco system is very important, I love to try Windows Phone looks so good but Google's Eco System is so much more appealing than MS right now, and all my paid apps would be wasted. It pays to be early on the game

So true. When I lost my Galaxy Nexus I decided it was a good time to give WP7 a try, with a Nokia Lumia nonetheless. I quickly learned the real reason why I may never leave android again: the Google apps. Gmail was one thing, but when I had to figure out the directions to a friend's house and I saw bing.........and no google maps.... I lost it. Even things like the browser couldn't do simple tasks like log into blackboard.com. So after about two weeks I bit the bullet and shelled out another $500 for a new Nexus.

I do miss the styling a bit though.

Anyways, 3rd party apps are interesting and fun but the real reason you stay is the core apps.

TL;DR WP7 is a Beautiful OS, Bing sucks. Google Apps FTW


Def! I had a launch day pre on sprint and was horrible. people kept telling me to "patch this and that" and it would work great. why do I have to tinker with this thing to make even the least bit usable?!? My moto razr was smoother than webos in some regards. After a year of muddling around with webos i found the light in Android. my OG Evo worked, and it worked well. all i had to do was put in a battery, and turn the damn thing on. Thank you android. webos was ok, but very poorly designed, and utilized by the hardware it was placed on.

I to was a launch day Pre customer. I knew it wasn't perfect but had confidence that it would be sorted soon enough. A year later I was on an Evo and didn't look back. Saying that I still yearn for what WebOS did and did well. Synergy and gestures with cards was a brilliant way to go. What hobbled it though was first the Cr@p arse hardware it was on. Underpowered and no gpu optimization. They could never get the performance out of it. Wasn't until the Pre3 came that out that we had a decent cpu and screen to use. Too little too late for Palm. Then the day smartphone died with HP killing it.

All though is not lost. Duarte came to Android and we got ICS. Yes it's not pure WebOS but it sure as heck is a good replacement. Now that more of the engineers from WebOS are with him there. Jelly Bean looks like it could be even better. Just Upgraded my Evo to the Evo4GLTE (lordy is that a mouthful). And except for the usual fresh bugs in the build it's even better.

Before about 18 months ago I to stepped into a VZW store. Had the same experience as someone else mentioned. All the rep could do was deride the Pre2. If they just had been no committal to it the sales may have been better.

I actually still miss my webOS phones. They are the only phone(Pre Plus) that I have never actually sold or gave away after I moved from them. They sit in there boxes waiting for something to happen. Maybe for me to actually make the webOS toasters many people joked about.

They were perfect but I so enjoyed the OS

I really enjoyed (and miss) the WebOS platform, and I'd still be on WebOS if they (Palm/HP) were able to make it work. Brings back memories of IBM & OS/2... With that said, It's nice to know that I'm running the "appropriate" OS (CM9) on my $50.00 HP Touchpad!

While blaming the sevice providers' sale staff for poor sales has an element of truth,like all good urban myths do, the fact of the matter is Palm(& later HP) never gave WebOS the solid smartphone hardware it needed to shine.Just as RIM is learning now(maybe) the tablet market is WAY overrated and perhaps over saturated and should never be key to your business.