HP: Android snuck onto TouchPad; we want answers

HP accidentally shipped some webOS-based TouchPad units with Android 2.2. Now HP is launching an investigation.

Even though Hewlett-Packard gave up on its TouchPad this past August after just releasing the darn thing at the beginning of July, HP isn't done with this tablet yet.

We've already seen the TouchPad become a runaway success...only when it dropped to $99, causing an unexpected buying frenzy.

However, an unexpected surprise (either positive or negative, depending on how you talking to) appeared on several TouchPads when it was discovered they were running an Android 2.2 kernel. Very strange for a device that is only supposed to run webOS 3.0 -- at least officially out-of-the-box.

Phil Robb, director of HP's open source program office, has issued an official statement as to where HP will go next with this. Basically, it is going into P.I. mode:

As for the Touchpad units that have been allegedly purchased with a version of Android on them, we have begun an internal investigation on this within HP. We have confirmed that HP never authorized the distribution of any version of Android on the HP Touchpad. In addition, from a review of our manufacturing process, we believe that all Touchpad units have been shipped out of manufacturing with the webOS operating system only, and that no Touchpad units were shipped with Android, even by mistake. Hence, we presently believe that some person or persons unknown may have facilitated the delivery of these Android-based units strictly against the policy and authorization of HP.

In case you're desperate to have a taste of Froyo on your HP TouchPad, there have been many articles detailing how to port it. Of course, you do that at your own risk, although HP doesn't seem to mind that once it's at home with you.

Robb added:

For those of you in the development community actively working to port Android to the Touchpad, we applaud your efforts. HP has a strong commitment to your freedoms as a developer and technology enthusiast. It is your device and you can do with it what you want.