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HP Touchpad Upgrade to Android with Cyanogenmod Guide/Instructions from Windows

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012 @ 01:33:24 AM CDT by David Yee [] [read 9051 times]

Tips: Windows-world
About a year and a half ago I bought the HP Touchpad, which has as everyone know, became pretty much unsupported. Even though I liked the Touchpad, the dearth of apps for the WebOS, plus my increased exposure to Android (on my phone + Asus Transformer TF101) and the iPad, had me wanting to do something to increase our family usage of the device. Since the Touchpad w/ WebOS has no Netflix, Google apps, Dropbox, and no Pulse (a news reader app, but yes, pun intended), we barely use it- maybe once a week at most.

I knew about CyanogenMod for a while now and I heard of its success on the Touchpad, but I really wanted to see if the developers will bring the product out of the "experimental" stage. Plus I didn't want to install Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) but rather have at least Android 4.0 (ICS aka Ice Cream Sandwich) which matches the current version of Android on my EeePad TF101. After reading many positive experiences of people of had flashed the WebOS bound Touchpad to Android, I decided to give it a shot.

I had some free time today so I decided to dive into the mini-project of converting WebOS to Android on my HP Touchpad. It was a resounding success, and I wanted to share the steps/instructions I used to make the conversion work. I used a PC running Windows 7 64 bit for this. But I also wanted to make these instructions applicable to 32 bit and older Windows versions as well.

Here we go- do you have 2 hours of spare time because that's probably how long the entire process will take.

1) I knew ahead of time that I needed to download a collection of files for the procedure, so I created a folder called "hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod" on my "C:" drive.

2) I went to the official Cyanogenmod TouchPad page to download the firmware and instructions on how to do the upgrade. Under "Stable Mod", there was nothing, and same goes for "Experimental Mod" page. Under the "Nightly Builds", I went ahead and downloaded the newest version, which was "". The file was saved to "C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod".

3) I then navigated to the Cyanogenmod Wiki for how to install the OS on the HP Touchpad. As instructed, I downloaded the latest version of the WebOS SDK-PDK, which was 3.0.5 via Make sure you download the proper version- 64bit or 32bit depending on which Windows system type you have. If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista and are unsure, go to Start, Control Panel, System, and look for System Type to see whether it says 64-bit or 32-bit. See the screen shot below:

If you are running Windows XP, the chance is 99.9999% that you are running 32-bit. I'm running Windows 7 x64, so the file I ended up downloading was "HP_webOS_SDK-Win-3.0.5-676-x64.exe".

Go ahead and save the file to "C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod".

4) I went ahead and downloaded the other 3 other files:

  • ACME Installer with the file name "ACMEINSTALLER3"

  • MOBoot 0.3.5 with the file name ""

  • ClockworkMod Recovery with the file name ""

  • I saved all 3 files under "C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod".

    5) I then went ahead and ran the WebOS SDK-PDK installer which I downloaded in step 3. Again, mine was called "HP_webOS_SDK-Win-3.0.5-676-x64.exe". Yours may be different if you are running 32-bit Windows.

    I chose custom setup so I could select the path/location to install the WebOS SDK-PDK. I picked "C:\webos-pdk" because instead of the default folder because it was shorter and would be easier to type (which you will have to do later).

    6) The next step was to plug the HP Touchpad to the computer via USB. You have to enable the "Mass Storage Mode" on the Touchpad upon connection. Browse on your computer to the HP Touchpad (should show up under "Devices with Removable Storage if you are running Windows 7). Create a folder on the Touchpad called "cminstall" and copy the "" and "" files to that folder.

    7) Disconnect the Touchpad from the computer. You'll see an "Ouch!" message, but don't worry about it- but you have to wait until that message disappears (takes about 20 seconds or so as the Touchpad scans for new files). Then TURN OFF the Touchpad.

    8) Now you have to boot up the Touchpad in a special developer mode. You do this by turning the Touchpad back on by holding BOTH the power button AND the up volume button together until a large USB icon appear on the Touchpad screen.

    9) This is where you are supposed to go ahead and connect the Touchpad back to the PC via the USB cable- but don't do it- YET. This was where I had a problem. Basically I assumed that the WebOS SDK-PDK had installed the Windows driver that will allow the PC to talk to the Touchpad in this developer USB mode, but it DID NOT. The driver needed is called "NOVACOM". I knew because when I connected the Touchpad to the PC, and waited for it to find a driver, it did not find it. If you have the problem of the Touchpad not being recognized because the driver wasn't installed, go to Device Manager and you will see an exclamation mark next to the HP Touchpad.

    I tried to remedy this by first having Windows search online for a driver automatically, but that didn't work. So I tried browsing manually for a driver under "C:\webos-pdk", but no luck either.

    Looking around the web, I was able to find the driver towards the bottom of this page:

    I downloaded the file called "novacom-win-64.tgz" (because my system is 64-bit, but pick novacom-win-32.tgz if yours is not) and saved it to "C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod".

    A "tgz" file is one that is gzipped (a compressed file type) for a tar (a file container holding many files) file. You can download 7Zip (via if you don't already have it in order to open the file. Assuming you have 7zip installed, double-click on the "novacom-win-64.tgz" file, and you will see "novacom-win-64.tar". Double-click on that and you will see the file "NovacomInstaller_x64.msi". Double-click on it to begin installing the driver.

    See the screen shot below of my 7zip window after double-clicking on the .tar file:

    10) Now we're cooking. After you installed the driver, go ahead and connect back the Touchpad in its developer USB mode to the PC via the USB cable. Wait maybe half a minute as Windows finds the Touchpad in this special mode, and uses the Novacom driver for it. If you want to be sure it is working, go to Device Manager and the exclamation mark should be gone.

    11) Open a command prompt (click the Start button, select Run, and type CMD in the Open box, and click OK).

    Go to the HP Web OS SDK PDK folder via this command:

    "cd C:\webos-pdkSDK\bin" (our example HP WebOS SDK PDK installation folder + SDKbin)

    then execute the command:

    "novacom boot mem:// < C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod\ACMEInstaller3"

    If you get the message "unable to find device", that means the NOVACOM driver was NOT installed or the PC is not connected to the Touchpad via the USB cable or the Touchpad is not in that special USB developer mode.

    If successful, you won't see any error message.

    11b) Now this means that ClockworkMod Recovery & MOBoot are now installed on the Touchpad, but we still need to install the actual CyanogenMOD.

    12) Power down the Touchpad and then power it back on, then connect it back to the PC just like in step 6. Copy the Cyanogenmod zip file (mine was called """") into the "cminstall" folder (created in step 6) on the HP Touchpad.

    You also want some apps such as the Google Play Store automatically loaded, of course. The Cyanogenmod Touchpad Wiki linked me to a file called "" which contained some Google Apps. However I could not find the Google Play Store app after my Touchpad was successfully flashed to Cyanogenmod. I tried downloading an apk file of Google Play to install that way, but it crashed immediately after launching.

    So instead of using the link from the Cyanogen Wiki to the Google Apps, go to instead to find the newest version of Google Apps for Cyanogenmod 9. The one that ended up working for me was called "". So you should download that instead, and save it to "cminstall" on the Touchpad.

    13) Repeat Steps 7, 8, and then 11. Upon running the command ""novacom boot mem:// < C:\hp-touchpad-cyanogenmod\ACMEInstaller3" this second time, you will see the Touchpad show a bunch of lines scrolling up the screen. Basically the ACMEInstaller3 is unzipping the Cyanogenmod and Google Apps zip files and then installing them onto the Touchpad.

    I left things running, went to eat dinner, and when I came back, the Touchpad was booted up in Android 4.0/Cyanogenmod 9. See photo below:

    As I mentioned I had run into the issue of Google Play store not included, and then not working when I tried to manually download and install its .apk file. But I got everything to work after downloading (via the browser of the Touchpad running CM9) the latest gapps zip file as I mentioned in step 12. There was no way to unzip it, but I found out that you can install the zip file via the Cyanogenmod "recovery" mode. I held the power button, selected "Reboot", then Recovery, and upon reboot I was able to select install from SD (which was pretty much a partition/different mount point of the Touchpad internal memory because the device does not support external SD cards) the updated gapps zip file. But again you can avoid all this hassle by downloading the latest gapps zip file I described in step 12.

    I really have to applaud the Cyanogenmod developers for doing such a great job getting Android to work on the HP Touchpad. I found it to be very responsive and so far I haven't ran into any problem and have installed over 30 apps including Netflix, Gmail, Google Drive, etc. I'm also happy to report that the Touchstone dock works perfectly in wirelessly charging the Touchpad just like before. Happily, the "new" Touchpad is going to be used way more often now.

    Please feel free to provide feedback on these instructions and I hope they will help you save time and frustration in converting the Touchpad WebOS to Android/Cyanogenmod. Remember to backup any important files/pics/music on the Touchpad beforehand just in case something goes haywire.

    [update November 4, 2012] After using the Touchpad running Android CyanogenMod 9 for a week now, I have noticed a few issues. The camera is not working, though that's not a big deal for me. Also the wi-fi would seem to cut out here and there- for instance when browsing a long list in the Google Play app store. The Amazon App Store runs pretty slowly, but I was able to download and retrieve all my apps eventually from there. Otherwise it's still working great. BTW I apologzie for the missing slashes in the directory names- the posting software removed all the backslashes. I have gone in and manually re-added them.

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