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RIP Android on HP Touchpad, 2011-2013

My trusty tablet finally gives up the ghost

Those of you who have followed the story know that my HP Touchpad running Android has been a major tool in my computing arsenal, providing lots of fodder for articles here on Network World. Therefore, you know I mean it when I say that I am sorry to have to report that my HP Touchpad passed on last night. It was just shy of two years old. The cause of death is unknown at this point, but I am still working on it.

When I returned from my office yesterday I went to get my pad to catch up on news and the little guy was dark. No matter what buttons I pressed in any combination, nothing helped. I tried plugging it in for a few hours on the charger and nothing. I then tried the Ubuntu debrick maneuver, which I have written about before, and still nothing. I read and tried everything I could to resuscitate my beloved pad and it remains dark.

RELATED: Android Jelly Bean resurrected my HP Touchpad

Ubuntu de-bricked my Android Jelly Bean Touchpad

The last time I powered down the pad, it didn't start back up. I have not shut it down in all these weeks for the fear that it would not restart. Now it seems that maybe that even was too much for it and it is gone.

I don't cry for my Touchpad. Instead, I am trying to remember all of the good times we spent together. From the first time I put my hands on it when HP ran the fire sale after pulling the plug on tablets shortly after their release. What an adventure it was trying to get that 32 GB model for the $149 price. It was like chasing Unicorns. But I did get them. I actually bought four Touchpads. Running WebOS was different but fun for a while.

When the CyanogenMod team released Android for the Touchpad it gave a second life to my tablet. I was able to run Android and all of the apps that came with it. Yes, it was a bit of a kludge, but it was still better than running WebOS and its limited application. When CyanogenMod released CM9 Ice Cream Sandwich, my Touchpad really blossomed. Eventually, even the camera worked. I felt there was nothing I couldn't do on my Touchpad and it became a primary device for me.

When I started casting an envious eye towards newer tablets the renowned JC Sullins released his CM10 Jelly Bean ROM for the Touchpad. This bought me another round of exploration with my Touchpad and yet another lease on life. Finally, my pad began to give out last month, and I was able to again renew it using Sullins's debrick method on Ubuntu. But I'm afraid it was really the beginning of the end. Now it seems nothing will help.

While I still have three other working Touchpads running Android, it doesn't seem fair to take one away from my sons or wife. Buying a used device on eBay doesn't seem cost effective either. No, I have to realize that as much fun as it was playing with my rooted Android tablet, the state of hardware, displays, etc. have moved on since HP spec'ed out the Touchpad. For a few hundred dollars I can buy a new hot rod that hopefully will give me a few years of use.

So what should I get? I know for sure that I don't want an iPad or iPad mini. I would like to stay with a 10-inch tablet. I don't want a Windows 8 machine; I would like to stay with Android. At this point I'm leaning toward the Google Nexus 10. I can get the 16GB version for $399 from Google directly. I know version 5 of Android (Key Lime Pie) is due out soon. You have to assume Google will update its own devices first. Another contender is the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700. It is upgradable to Jelly Bean, but not native to it. I am hesitant because the hardware is a bit older then the Nexus. In either case, I would like to know that if I want to, I can still root the device too. This is a big reason to choose Android over Apple or Windows. I don't want to go near the Kindle HD because I just think Amazon has made it too Amazon-centric, and I would most certainly root it the first or second day I had it.

For those of you with Android tablets, what do you recommend? I am interested in your opinion. I will probably hold off buying a new tablet for another week or so. Let me know what you think.

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