$99 HP TouchPad: Company Admits Android Powered TouchPads Shipped

In the midst of the $99 HP TouchPad sale, several customers reported receiving the tablet computer equipped with an Android OS instead of HP's WebOS.

HP has now confirmed that the rumors are true and is currently investigating how an Android OS got into its TouchPads.

"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," Phil Robb, director of HP's open-source program office wrote in an email to developers that was later posted on an online developer discussion group.

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It is common knowledge that third party developers had been attempting to port an Android OS onto the HP TouchPad. Rumors indicate that some developers have been successful at porting Android 2.3, Gingerbread onto the tablet.

Other rumors suggest that engineers at HP have also experimented with porting Android 2.2, Froyo onto the TouchPad.

The TouchPads that were shipped were found to be running on Froyo.

The HP TouchPad was discontinued after immense competition from Apple’s iPad 2 yielded disappointing sales.

This past summer, retail stores slashed the price of the TouchPad all the way down to $99, from its original price of $499.

The $99 sale however sparked demand for the tablet and it quickly sold out at all stores carrying the massively discounted price. After purchase, many TouchPad users have stated that they prefer the HP tablet to the iPad.

Commentators suggest that in HP’s haste to clear out its inventory of TouchPads, some test units, with Froyo ported were accidentally shipped.

In his email, Robb asked for developers’ assistance in tracking down the origin of the Android ported TouchPads.

HP has confirmed that Robb’s email is authentic, but has not commented on any other aspect of the issue.

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