Every so often, a story comes along that makes you go, “…what? No, really…what?”
In the wake of the HP TouchPad fire sale, some mysterious TouchPad units appeared that were running a version of Android 2.2, with a splash screen bearing the logo QuIC, referring to the Qualcomm Innovation Center, a subsidiary of Qualcomm that works on adapting open-source software for products made by Qualcomm and its partners. One of these tablets sold on eBay for $1,425.
Needless to say, a lot of Android users have been anxious to get their hands on the source code associated with these units—it could help the community efforts to port Android to the devices that have been going on ever since the hardware went on sale so cheaply. But HP insists it has no idea how any of these devices shipped with Android on them, and is launching an investigation to figure out who snuck this unauthorized operating system on to some of its machines between the factory and the store. (Qualcomm says it has no idea either.)
Phil Robb, the director of HP’s open-source program office, went on to state:
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. Hopefully, this doesn’t come across too harsh.
That may be a forlorn hope. So, apparently the Android source does exist…but since HP didn’t actually intend to release the binaries, it doesn’t have to release the source code either. (So nyah nyah nyah.)
Robb does say later on that HP “applauds” the efforts of members of the development community working to port Android to the TouchPad, adding “It is your device and you can do with it what you want.” But “HP believes that the version of webOS that we deliver on the Touchpad is a superior user experience for our customers, and the best development platform for today’s and tomorrow’s mobile applications and services. WebOS is where HP spends its development and support efforts.” Really, HP? That’s why you marked the tablet down to $99 and have been looking for a buyer for your entire Palm division?
At any rate, the spectacle of a company trying to figure out how some of its tablets got to market with the wrong operating system is a rather amusing thing to wake up to in the morning. I wonder if we’ll ever know what they find out?
(Found via Engadget.)
“But “HP believes that the version of webOS that we deliver on the Touchpad is a superior user experience for our customers, and the best development platform for today’s and tomorrow’s mobile applications and services..”
Yes, it’s so superior that you chose to scrap development and support for it 🙂
Don’t you just love the PR spin?