The background behind the hopes and aspirations of WebOS, HP’s acquisition of the Palm portfolio, the dreadful August 2011 cancellation and subsequent fire sales of the HP WebOS Touchpad tablet are well-known in the tech world. There were a lot of unhappy folk who truly enjoyed the WebOS experience, but one of the critical factors contributing to the lukewarm reception of the Touchpad was the scarcity of familiar apps that Apple and Android boasted. Tech-savvy users could unlock the system to enable developer mode and install add-ons like Preware, or more impressively, configure the Touchpad to dual-boot to Android. This latter aspect has helped breathe life into those Touchpads in circulation, but wouldn’t it be even more convenient to be able to integrate Android (and its huge retinue of apps) into WebOS? For those wishing just that, there is a Kickstarter project in the works by Phoenix International Communications, Inc. or PIC for short, to do just that:
Project Title: Run Android Apps in webOS on the HP Touchpad
Closing Date for Funding: 05/23/2013
Product Overview: Rather than tediously dual-booting between WebOS and Android, a simpler solution for Touchpad owners would be to take advantage of Application Compatibility Layer produced by OpenMobile, an environment permitting Android applications to run natively on WebOS. A project had been started by OpenMobile for the HP Touchpad, but the turmoil of HP cancelling WebOS put OpenMobile’s project on hiatus. Phoenix International Communications however jumped into partner with OpenMobile and rescue the project, using Kickstarter as a means of crowd-funding to help realize ACL on the Touchpad.
The Kickstarter project was started on April 28 with a set goal of achieving $35,000 in funding, and if successful, PIC envisions release of the final project in July, so they seem to be cooking with gas on their end. As of May 15, they have exceeded their goal and are at over $38,000. PIC had promised at the Kickstarter inception that they would use any excess funds to help speed along other developments and updates to the project.
Who at Gear Diary Backed It: Bryan
At What Level Did We Back: $50+ , which entitles me to the following:
Get a copy of the ACL software when it is released on the market, a Phoenix Touchpad stand, a Phoenix LED flashlight keychain, a special custom-made thank you postcard and your name listed as a project supporter on our website.
Why We Backed It: In December 2011, during the phase 2 of the HP Touchpad fire sale, I had been unsuccessful in picking up a Touchpad. Our very own Mike Anderson very generously sold me his, and I was a happy WebOS camper for a time, but wished I were able to access Android apps as I could on my Android phone. I went down the route of installing CyanogenMod on my Touchpad, and this worked very well, except it was to me a bit of a nuisance going back and forth between OSes as CyanogenMod at the time hadn’t fully implemented camera support, plus I missed the fun of WebOS’s gestures and its excellent email app.
I had sold my Touchpad a few months ago, and quickly regretted the decision, so I picked up another one a couple of weeks ago. When contemplating setting up dual booting again, I wondered, hopefully not vainly, if there were yet any solutions out there allowing me to run Android apps within WebOS. On a lark, I perused Kickstarter, and to my happy surprise found PIC’s project. It had been funded successfully, but I felt it merited my involvement as I really wanted to get the best of both OS worlds.
How’s Communication From the Creatives Been?: Very good so far, about two updates on average per week.
Would You Recommend this Kickstarter Project?: If you are an avid HP Touchpad user and want to extend its capabilities even further, this might be a very rewarding project for you. PIC has recently released a proof of concept video showing them using ACL to run Adobe Photoshop Express on a Touchpad! The possibilities boggle the mind, so I’m really excited about this.