I’m a little late to the party but I was recently given a HP TouchPad by the nice folks at HP Canada and stumbled across an interesting app today called Preware. In the WebOS world (which runs the TouchPad and other Palm/HP smartphones) it’s the equivalent of Cydia for iOS devices which basically allows you to jailbreak your TouchPad and install homebrew applications like Cydia does on iPhones/iPads/Touches.
The big difference though is that HP has embraced this and even supports it’s development unlike someone else. WebOS has a large homebrew community and it appears to be quite vibrant…at least as far as the smartphones goes…it’s still very early days for the TouchPad.
Why would you want to ‘jailbreak’ your TouchPad?
To enable functionality that hasn’t yet made it to the official firmware and generally have more control over your device. The options this gives you is still in it’s infancy because the tablet only came out a few days ago but it’s already progressing at lightening speed.
The install process is quite similar on a PC or Linux but since I hacked mine with a Mac, this is what you get from me. There are a number of ways to get Preware on your Touchpad but I’m going to cover the WebOS Quick Install method that doesn’t require installing the SDK.
Let’s get started.Step 1: Enable Developer Mode
The first thing you need to do is enable Developer Mode on the TouchPad. I can’t believe that the way you do this is by simply performing a search in the “Just Type…” search box for the Konami code:
This will reveal a hidden app that has a slider to enable Developer Mode and set a password if you want to on this mode.
Step 2: Install WebOS Quick Install
Grab WebOS Quick Install from here and run the .JAR file
I didn’t need it but you can also grab Java 1.6 from that same link. I did this whole process on a stock Snow Leopard Mac Mini running 10.6.8.
Make sure your TouchPad is connected and ensure you click cancel on the USB drive prompt:
Allow Quick Install to install the Novacom drivers if it prompts you.
UPDATE: Someone in the comments suggested that if you’re having problems installing the drivers, use the HP SDK method instead.
Once you get the above screen, click on the globe icon on the righthand side, just about the phone image. This will give you the repository listing for all the apps. Type ‘preware’ in the search box (make sure you’re in the Applications tab), select it in the results list and click install.
At the moment, there isn’t a lot of TouchPad specific apps/patches but more is being added all the time.
I also installed “Add Launcher Tabs” after this screenshot was posted in order to give me the “Games” and “Homebrew” tabs.
Good luck and have fun hacking your TouchPad!
Update (August 18, 2011): Looks like HP has thrown in the towel on WebOS based devices with the OS future uncertain at this point.