Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

Summary: The HP TouchPad has a vibrant homebrew community that makes patches available to help speed things up. It is possible to overclock the TouchPad, turning it into one of the fastest tablets around.

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Updated: The HP TouchPad was blasted when it hit the market for performance that was not very good. Reviewers of the tablet and new owners alike were wondering why the TouchPad took so long to start apps and lagged at times. HP admitted there were issues that would be addressed in a system update shortly after launch. The update was released a few days ago and it improves the operation of the TouchPad quite a bit, but the performance still falls short of some of the competition. That's where the homebrew community comes to the rescue.

The webOS homebrew community has been around since the platform launched several years ago. It has evolved into a sophisticated operation that produces apps and patches for the OS that helps deal with problems and adds features. HP has been working with this community to make sure that user's needs are being met either officially or through the homebrew route.

HP TouchPad Overclocked to 1.7 GHz

Even before HP released the OTA update this week, homebrew solutions existed to deal with performance issues and add features to the TouchPad. Developers had identified areas where webOS fell short in running as fast or as well as it should, and released fixes called patches for them. I found a couple of these patches made a big difference in the operation of the TouchPad, due to background system logging that was happening. These patches turned that logging off and the difference in performance was significant.

I applied the OTA system update as soon as it was available and was impressed with the improvement over the TouchPad as released by HP. I then applied homebrew patches to make it even better and the result was spectacular. My TouchPad was running almost as well as the iPad, which is the goal in the tablet world.

My installed homebrew patches

My installed homebrew patches

Last night I decided to take it a step further with the homebrew stuff, and applied a test kernel that overclocks my TouchPad to 1.7 GHz. This has been a very stable upgrade that doesn't impact battery life much, yet has made my TouchPad as fast as any tablet I have used. Opening apps is almost instantaneous, and the entire system operation is as smooth and fast as can be.

Working with homebrew patches is not for everyone, but the system in place makes it easy for just about anyone to try. The Preware app that is used to find and apply webOS patches is found in the App Catalog with other apps. Detailed instructions for getting started with Preware are on the webOS Internals Wiki.

While homebrew apps and patches can be used with little risk, playing around with device kernels is not for the faint of heart. The instructions for using these experimental kernels are detailed and must be followed to the letter, including paying particular attention to the warnings from the developers. Once all steps are performed as indicated, swapping kernels is as easy as tapping on the screen and rebooting.

These patches make a tremendous difference in the performance of the TouchPad. I stepped ZDNet's Jason Perlow through the process of getting started with homebrew on his TouchPad today through a one hour Skype video call from my TouchPad. I have never seen Jason so excited as he was after getting his tablet patched up, except for the time his iPad hit the patio.

It would have been better if HP had incorporated some of these patches to the system prior to launch, and a lot of the complaints about performance would have been avoided. It's great to have the homebrew crew supported the TouchPad.

Updated: For those wondering how overclocking the TouchPad affects battery life, my Skype video call to Jason Perlow was an hour long with video, and battery was down to 91 percent when ended.

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Topics: Hewlett-Packard, CXO, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets, IT Employment

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26 comments
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  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    Any idea if HP will formally adopt these fixes?
    jjacobs3
    • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

      @jjacobs3 Don't know, or maybe do away with why they are needed.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

        @JamesKendrick
        How is the touch response after overclocking it? I am planning to get the AT&T one.
        Ram U
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    James I always love your articles, always well written and interesting reads, and this one is no different, but please change the title lol, it's just bad, and redundant.

    Glad to see the Touchpad has some stable kernals to fool around with. OCing a tablet is great. I currently have my Transformer at 1.6ghz stable and the thing just flies.
    Bates_
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    HP should totally include these patches in an update. And give the homebrew people some cash as thanks :)
    Imrhien
    • Even formal attribution would go a long way!

      @Imrhien
      These guys want to offer the best they can, and that's why they're offering it for free now... So, even just giving them the limelight for a bit would be amazing.

      Or, better than either option, give them a job as a WebOS developer INSIDE of HP. Hire them to make the system better!
      shryko
      • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

        @shryko HP fully supports the homebrew community in many ways, as well as developers.

        "We have an awesome independent developer community in webOS Internals that does things like replacement kernels, new system services, and overclocking tools. Our community produces innovations that have made their way into later webOS releases; for example, we liked the page cache compression work that they did to improve webOS 1.4.5 so much that we made it part of our standard Linux kernels on webOS 2.0. HP hasn?t tried to stop or silence these groups; instead we work with them when possible and even give them hardware to help with their explorations."
        jgm2
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    All the patches are licensed in a way that allows HP to reuse them and include them in the OS. At Palm times, they've adopted some of them.
    deCorvett
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    Ahhh. Thanks! I'm going crazy now because I can't decide whether to do this to my 30 day year old Touchpad! I'd like to see more feedback from people that have used it for several days. Ugh. So tempting.
    Sweat Studio
  • Installed Govnah and now at 1.5 Ghz!

    Well James, you pretty much convinced me to do it. I don't know how or what Uberkernel you are using to get 1.7 Ghz but I installed Govnah with the 1.5 Ghz Uberkernel and it totally ROCKS! Performance has been consistent and I believe it now out performs my assistant's iPad2! Gotta love those guys at webOS internals and the Homebrew community!
    Sweat Studio
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    Yep, I want to pay as much or more for a tablet as an iPad cost and then have to go find a bunch of patches and build it myself. Great for the geeks but won't fly with ordinary consumers.
    remoter
    • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

      @remoter You don't "have to" do anything. In the world outside the Walled Garden, there's this wonderful situation where people can do whatever they choose to do with their hardware and software, including tinkering with it to customize it, suit their needs better or tweak it for performance. There's no "jail" that needs to be broken out of or need to "root" the system. You can just punch in the nerdy "Konami code" into the device and enter "developer mode" where you have full control of the OS. It's for people who want to take the training wheels off rather than being stuck with a tricycle for life.
      jgm2
      • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

        @jgm@...
        And what's the battery life on this? 30 minutes?

        That's one bicycle that will tip over.

        lol...
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

        @Scorpio, you'll find at the end of the article the author mentions "For those wondering how overclocking the TouchPad affects battery life, my Skype video call to Jason Perlow was an hour long with video, and battery was down to 91 percent when ended."

        Motorcycles can tip over too, but that doesn't stop people who know what they're doing from riding and enjoying them.
        jgm2
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    Gee, what does the Apple homebrew community do? Or is Openness not an option?
    mschafer555
    • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

      @mschafer555 The only apple homebrewing involves apple cider.
      jgm2
  • Is the TouchPad Slow, so it has to be OC'd.

    Why would you buy a product that has to be overclocked? Agreed that in the old days you would buy the cheapest Intel processor and overclock it to gain the performance you needed for gaming, but overclock a tablet? Must be for the fun of it or is the TouchPad is a dog when it comes to performance?
    TBeckner
    • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

      @TBeckner The device is great without overclocking. But.... My main reason is that I'm a really busy guy and lately I've been pushing my Touchpad with heavy multi-tasking. As a personal trainer, I'm constantly inputting client workouts while running a stop watch along with researching nutrition information all during a session. And I just described only half of my daily business usage. I'm also running two businesses and a PHP programmer. I understand that this is not the 'norm' to the average user but a faster processor along with great multi-tasking abilities makes my day more productive.
      Sweat Studio
    • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

      @TBeckner

      When you have a tablet that does more (true multitasking, Synergy of many types of accounts), the performance is naturally going to be a little slower. You don't need to overclock the device, but when you do, you get the best experience of both worlds (speed and functionality) that is unmatched by any other tablet out there.
      bmacfarland
  • RE: Overclocking the HP TouchPad cranks up the speed

    It does not have to be overclocked at all. My TouchPad ran just fine stock - I couldn't understand what tablet the reviewers were using. My experience has been awesome.
    MobileBill23