HP TouchPad becomes a low-cost Ubuntu tablet


The $99 HP TouchPad (s hpq) has become quite elusive, essentially selling out in the U.S. over the weekend. Much of the reason is due to what you get for this price: a color Kindle(s amzn) reader that doubles as a great web browser, email manager and cloud device with 50 GB of storage from Box.net. But for the tech savvy, you get even more for your money. It turns out that the TouchPad supports an Ubuntu build of Linux, which adds a whole new dimension to the now tabled tablet.

Brad Linder’s Liliputing blog has a detailed listing of the process of installing Ubuntu on the TouchPad, which was built out over the past several weeks by PreCentral forum users. Since many Ubuntu applications are compiled for x86 (s intc) processors instead of ARM (s armh) chips, like the one in the TouchPad, not all Ubuntu software will run on the slate. For now, Firefox, Chromium, and LibreOffice appear to be working, in addition to TightVNC for remote access to other computers, just to name a few.

That could change over time, however, and it opens up the door to many more potential programs on the TouchPad; at least when it’s running Ubuntu. That’s the other side benefit here: Ubuntu will run on a separate partition, meaning that the device can still boot into webOS as needed.

I’d expect the end result to be too much work for most TouchPad buyers, and I’m not going to take the Ubuntu plunge myself: I have other options for both tablets and laptops, so for me, it’s not worth the effort. But it’s still a neat little project that’s likely to see further development and support, which could add even more value to a $99 tablet.



Ubuntu works great on the HP Touchpad. I can use terminal services to my Windows PCs and use OneNote, Visio would a more intuitive touch interface.

Tyler Hampton

I heard that more were going to be stocked and then released on the HP website so I’m going to stay up all night F5ing product web pages.

Ginny Abrachinsky Martin

Can’t find one anywhere, anybody know where I can get one?


Why don’t you mention the freakin name of the model and just call it “$99 TouchPad” instead?

Joe Sacher

Most of this work is done by a group called WebOSInternals. They can be found at webos-internals.org.

Chetan Sharma

I’m looking for one.. Trying too hard!! Had ordered one from Barnes & Noble last night but now they have canceled my order because of inventory was depleted prior to my order being processed.

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