After An Internal Investigation, HP Has No Idea How TouchPads Shipped With Android


Apparently, HP doesn’t the slightest clue on how some of their significantly discounted TouchPads were shipped out to customers pre-loaded with the Android OS (and not WebOS as intended). Developers began emailing HP asking that they share the Android kernel source that shipped on the TouchPads as per the open-source licensing terms.

HP’s Phil Rob director of HP’s open-source program responded in an email saying HP never authorized the distribution of these Android TouchPads and after an internal investigation, found that none were shipped by HP, not even by mistake.

“Regarding your specific request for source code below, I must decline at the present time. HP has never authorized the distribution of any binaries for Android in association with the HP Touchpad. Therefore, HP is not under any license obligation to provide any corresponding Android source code to you.”

“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.”

These developers have also sent the same request to Qualcomm after the QuIC (Qualcomm Innovation Center) logo appeared while the TouchPads in question were booting up. Qualcomm denied any part in the manufacturing or distribution of these Android TouchPads leaving even more questions than answers. The search continues for the HP TouchPad’s Android kernel source and if you have any information, feel free to help out the cause here.

[Via PCWorld]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. So the freight company that delivered them must of hijacked them and uploaded Android to them..

  2. It’s simple really… SkyNet is up and running. Android is now self propagating itself on to other devices. We are Android. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

    1. A W E S O M E +1

  3. Both companies are being disingenuous at best. Obviously both HP and Qualcomm had to work in conjunction with each other to get Android on the Touchpad. I know that at least one of the recipients of a Touchpad running Android had the tablet shipped directly from HP, not a third party retailer. Both companies need to be pushed to release the source… otherwise they’re breaking the law.

    1. “HP has never authorized the distribution of any binaries for Android in association with the HP Touchpad.” They never “authorized the distribution”. They didn’t say they didn’t have some working with Android. :)

      1. Once they sold a product with Android installed, that became “distribution”. That would hold up in any court. Particularly since there were multiple Touchpads sold that way.

        1. The problem is “in court”. I doubt the issue is important enough to developers to sue HP over it.

      2. Eh wha? Didn’t they just say in the rest of the sentence that they didn’t have anything to do with Android? You know, the part you decided to leave out?

        I mean, they say they didn’t authorize the distribution of Android WITH association of the HP TouchPad. I guess that means that since they didn’t INTEND to sell the device with Android, they aren’t in any trouble.

        But they could still work with Android on it. They’re not obligated to give anything if all they do is just work with Android?

        Am I not reading something right?

        1. Because it is a stock Android install. Meaning only HP (or Qualcomm) could have baked it in because they are the ones with the drivers necessary to do it. Otherwise CM and others would already be running Android on them.

          The wording is vague enough that I think it was intentional. They never said “we didn’t make these tablets with Android”. They said “We didn’t authorize DISTRIBUTION of the android tablets”. HP had them for whatever reason, and accidentally shipped them out.

  4. Welp, not to be a prick to HP since they bestowed the gift of the firesale upon us in the first place, but in the interest of the GPL it sounds like it’s time to take up the tools of the industry and file suit.

    1. Ok, and what do you expect to be the result ? Should HP give you the sources they don’t have ? Maybe it is a result of some single employee thinking proactively and putting Android on some produced models, without knowledge of HP.

      1. That would have to be a pretty high level employee to have access to everything needed. The fact that there were multiple units shipped straight from HP with a fully working OS means that this was an HP sanctioned project that slipped out where it shouldn’t have.

        1. “units shipped straight from HP with a fully working OS means”

          do some research..the touchpads are shipped
          to HP for distribution from their suppliers
          in China? as I recall AND part of the
          manufacturing process uses ANDROID
          in the testing…so it seems very likely
          some step in the process could have been rushed/missed/etc. and hence Touchpads
          were distributed by HP…end of story

      2. I don’t think you’re paying attention. :)

  5. So what they magically had android on them? I don’t think so

    1. The stork brought Android to them o_O

  6. The MATRIX is live and we’ll. Wish I had never taken that red pill! Or was it the blue? Damn you Neo! I too followed the white Rabbit. Hatter said I can not do go home. Yes, know.

    1. Your grammar is horrifying…

  7. I kinda want one.

  8. I hope something comes out. I love my TP (writing with it now) but it would be even better with android :-)

  9. i dont hink this is how the gpl works.
    they SOLD deviced with gpl software.
    doesnt matter if it was on purpose or not.
    its like saying “sorry, but i didnt mean to hit your child with my car, so i cant be held accountable.”

    1. It’s actually not comparable to that at all. It’s more like me hitting someone’s child with a car, and then the police saying “You (pfanne) are responsible for him hitting this child with his car.”

      Just so we’re clear… In my analogy, the person requesting the source code is the police, I am the person who released the touchpads, and you are HP.

      If HP didn’t send the touchpads with Android loaded on them, they can’t really be responsible for the source code that they likely didn’t know existed.

      If on the other hand, someone at HP is lying and did in fact send them out with Android, then your argument may be valid.

      1. “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.”

        To me, that says HP knew they had the tablets, but wanted to keep them under wraps. Somebody in the engineering dept handed their stock of obsolete Android-testing Touchpads over to sales and ‘viola’ Andy Tochpads are shipped along with the rest.

  10. I’m a geek with the rest of you, but I’m not going to get mad at HP because of this, their source obviously isn’t needed, so why threaten to sue them. Go on with your life.

  11. I would love a touchpad w/ full hardware capabilities w/ android

  12. It sounds like HP and Qualcomm are acting like this is some kind of freaking conspiracy. Like anyone would be mad that one or the other did some testing with Android on the Touchpad in the development stage. Regardless, it WAS worked on so someone has the source. Because some units shipped with Android, purposely or not, they are now legally obligated to find and release that kernel source.

  13. HP doesn’t have to release the source because they never authorized the sale of Touchpads with the Android OS on it. Basically an employee screwed up or took it upon himself to release it. Richard Stallman has commented specifically on incidents like this that the company would not be required to release the source. Unfortunately I’m at work right now and don’t have all my GPL bookmarks, but I’ll reply to this post later with some links.
    That being said, I’ll all for HP releasing the source out of niceness.

    1. Yeah I know I’m three days late with my link, but my computer blew up. If anyone is still paying attention to the thread and wants an in-depth look at GPL cases like this read this link, as it is a wealth of knowledge and links to previous cases.
      Read through the response as thats were case links are contained.

  14. I thought when HP fired that art history educated CEO they would get their mojo back. Apparently not. At least still supplies us a good emulator…

  15. This had to have been done by either HP or Qualcomm, otherwise they guys over at cyanogenmod would have been able to port android over fully by now. It’s not something that’s easy to do. Only a group with the resources and drivers to do so (HP and/or Qualcomm) could do something like this. It’s not like some guy highjacked the freight truck, pressed a few buttons on each touchpad, and BOOM! Android. That’s just not how it works.

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