So yes, I’m one of the guys who bought into WebOS (yes, I had – and still have in a box somewhere – a Pre) and the Touchpad. What can I say, I loved the UX and the concept of true multitasking, swipe gesturing, and the fact that the Touchpad had one of the hottest CPU/GPU combos a the time that could easily overclock to 2GHz. When the firesale hit, I kept my first one and picked up a backup. Only $300 for a pair of 32GB, 2GHz-capable dual processor tablets with 1GB RAM. Not shabby.
Then WebOS totally folded. Like a cheap suit. Like a preacher at a poker table. Like Apotheker in September… You get the picture. I don’t think there were ever more than 10,000 apps available (very few tablet-specific ones at that), and as venerable and ambitious as PreWare was, it felt like piling shareware on an old DOS box instead of working with a state of the art tablet.
However, shortly after HP bailed on the Touchpad (codename Tenderloin) the Android community made a collective, “Hmmmm…” sound and promptly ported CyanogenMod 7 (CM7) to run on the platform before the end of the year. Ever since then there has been at least one ROM available of the current version of Android for the Touchpad, which will be four years old on July 1, 2015.
The latest and greatest release of Android – 5.0 aka Lollipop – is no different. The devs working on the Evervolv ROM project have a port of 5.0.2 that is mostly stable and seems to run well on the ol’ TP.
The UX is even more polished and smoother than KitKat was, and I hear claims that the performance is also on par once the new ART runtime has pre-compiled everything. (The claim is that the more you use the tablet, the faster things get.) The really ironic thing is that Lollipop now includes a vertical coverflow-esque app card with stacking capabilities that looks almost exactly like what WebOS introduced years ago. (Swipe management of notifications was introduced in 4.x, which WebOS also had out of the gate.) So what we have now is a mainstream OS on the Touchpad that has finally caught up with the WebOS UX, but is way more stable and widely adopted. Which from my point of view makes the Touchpad a phoenix rising out of the ashes of HP/Palm to shine as a still-venerable tablet able to run the latest release of Google’s awesome Android OS.