What the HP TouchPad needs is an Android Player

Summary:A project is underway to port Android to the HP TouchPad, but that's not the best way to go. I would rather see an Android Player written to let Android apps runs natively in webOS on the HP tablet.

The situation of the HP TouchPad has been nothing short of bizarre, with reports of dozens lining up outside retailers to buy one of the HP tablets now reduced in price to as little as $99. New buyers of the TouchPad are contacting me by the dozens looking for tips and tricks to get the most out of them.

As popular as the TouchPad seems to be since getting killed off by HP, it still is being supported by them for the foreseeable future. While most developers are leaving their apps in the App Catalog, there is no guarantee all of them will do so. There is not a big selection of apps available for the TouchPad as it is, and there will not be any new ones developed for a dead product.

Some developers are picking up the now cheap TouchPad with the intention of porting Android to the tablet. The thought must be to bring Android with its access to thousands of apps to the TouchPad. This project is just getting underway and I will watch it to see how fast it progresses.

The truth is I like webOS much better than Android so I am not sure how I will like replacing the former with the latter. There is a lot to be said for having access to a lot of apps, however. For that reason alone I would love to see some intrepid developer create an Android Player for the TouchPad. RIM is working on one for the PlayBook so it should be possible. I am not a developer nor do I play one on the Internet so I could be wrong about that.

This Android Player would be an Android emulator that runs as an app on the TouchPad desktop. It should give access to finding and installing Android apps as if written natively for the TouchPad. One Android app could be run at a time in a single task card that could be minimized as desired. This would allow Android apps to run alongside webOS apps on the TouchPad, which would be very, very cool.

I suspect that even though the TouchPad has been cancelled by HP, quite a few of existing owners would shell out big bucks for such an emulator. My guess is the first developer to do this could make some pretty decent coin for the TouchPad Android Player. I also think HP would find webOS to be a much more compelling product to shop around if it could run Android apps.

Also see: Six reasons why HP’s IBM moment will prove elusive

Analysts crush HP’s revamp: ‘Juggling in a wind tunnel’

Topics: Hewlett-Packard

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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