Another idiot’s guide to Android 4.3 JellyBean on HP Touchpad

I am an idiot and recently re-re-re-installed Android 4.3.1 (JellyBean) on my HP Touchpad. This post explains what I did and why. This post is for someone who has technical aptitude but isn’t an expert on tablets and custom ROMs etc.  I will refer you to other posts online when they explain what you need to know instead of repeating it here.


I already had CM7 (Android 2.3) then CM9 (Android 4.0) on the tablet.  CM9 was working just fine until one day it just started locking up and the SD card kept disappearing and generally it was a flaky POS.  The problem was, I had more than 50 apps moved to my SD card and for whatever reason I don’t understand, that’s bad. The issue seems to persist in 4.3.1 so I’ll cover in my directions below what you need to do to avoid this mess.


In an Android system (simplifying here) you have three types of storage: System, Internal Storage, and SD Card.  On some tablets the SD card is an actual SD card in a slot on the tablet, and one other tablets it’s a chunk of the internal memory and just called “sdcard.”  Android 4.3+ needs about 500-600MB of system space.  Also, the more Internal Storage you have, the better, because when you start running out of Internal Storage and move your apps to SD, you can encounter the weird “50+ apps screw up the system” problem I mentioned above.

On the Touchpad, from the factory, all the storage is dedicated to WebOS.  When you install Android, the System and Internal Storage partitions are carved out of that storage.  The “sdcard” is actually shared with the WebOS partition.  This is important because it allows you to do some necessary tasks to that storage from the WebOS side.

Getting Ready

You need to run Novacom, which requires Java.  Download and install Java:  Download and install Novacom: NOTE: If you have these tools hanging around from an older installation, go ahead and get the new stuff.

If you already have a version of Android on your system, you probably need to increase the size of the System partition.  This is performed using the “Tailor” app for WebOS.  To install the Tailor app you need to boot WebOS, install Preware, then go online and get the Tailor app.  Roland Deschain has an excellent video, plus written instructions in the video description, here:

Now it’s time to introduce the excellent guide on the xda-developers website, again by Roland Deschain. Go ahead and read this thread down to the Android 4.4 KitKat section:   Now you know why you need to to a clean install, that you need to increase your system partition size, etc.

Each ROM release has some notes about what works and what doesn’t.  Android 4.4 / KitKat didn’t seem ready enough for me (no offense to those working hard on it) so I chose the Evervolv 3.3.0p1 (AOSP 4.3.1) release.

If you want an easy time, don’t actually download the package from here, just scope out what you want.

Cleanup for old Android versions

If you are already running Android and want to keep your data, you should back it up.  You should also format your system and cache partitions.  This video explains it all:

Installing the New Version

Next, it’s time for this thread, Installing Android the Easy Way:  The corresponding Youtube video is linked in the post.

Please note that the install packages on the xda thread listed above include the extra packages (moboot, Clockwork Mod, and Google apps) so you don’t need to go find them yourself.

I can’t improve on these instructions, so please follow them!

After you get booted into Android, don’t go loading up on apps just yet!

Connecting to your Windows computer over USB

Some ROMs use MTP to communicate over USB. Here are instructions copied verbatim from the xda thread above:

1. Go into Device manager. You will see “MTP USB Device” under portable devices.   2. Right Click it and select update driver software   3. Select Browse my computer for driver software.  4. Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer 5. Select USB Mass Storage Device then click next.  6. To transfer files to PC, turn on USB mass Storage from the USB connection notification on the Android device.

Fixing (working around) the “50+ app” issue

As I mentioned above, you will still have the “OMG this thing is a flaky POS when I put 50+ apps on SD card” problem.  The workaround is simply to increase the size of your Internal Storage do you don’t need to put any apps on SD.

This thread explains what to do (it covers three issues, read all you want, but you can skip to the phrase “The last fix”):

I was too dumb to understand exactly what to do, so here is what you do:  Decide how much extra Internal Storage you want and download the corresponding fix .zip file.  Make sure you have that much free space (with a lot of margin for error!) on your sdcard. I went with 2048 (2GB).  1. Use the instructions on USB transfers above to copy it to your “sdcard” partition in Android, or you can reboot to WebOS and transfer it that way.  2. Reboot the device and choose “Boot Clockword Mod.”  3. In CWM, choose “Install zip from sdcard” 4. Navigate to where you installed the zip and choose it.  You will be asked are you sure, etc.  Wait for it to proceed then reboot.

One final issue — battery drain

Touchpads have an issue where once the battery fully drains, it’s hard (impossible?) to recharge them, some sort of chicken-and-egg issue.  So best not to let it happen.  The solution is to run an app that monitors battery life and shuts down when it hits a certain threshold.  Two apps are Llama and AutomateIt.  I used an older version of AutomateIt under CM9, but the latest version doesn’t seem to have the “shutdown” action!  So I used Llama and it seems good so far.  I deleted all the default events and then added a single one, triggered by battery below 20%, to shut down the “phone.”  You will need to allow root access to the app.



Posted in Computing on Jan 12th, 2014, 6:57 pm by Dennis   

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