HP TouchPad already has USB host support; webOS 2.2 prepped for SD cards [video] | webOS Nation

HP TouchPad already has USB host support; webOS 2.2 prepped for SD cards [video]

by Derek Kessler Fri, 02 Sep 2011 10:54 am EDT

The HP TouchPad may not be the most technically advanced tablet out there, but it seems that webOS wasn’t able to take advantage of the hardware that was there. We do know that webOS wasn’t fully graphically-accelerated, not taking advantage of the Adreno 220 graphics chip as well as in could. But what else lurks within the TouchPad? How about USB host support?

RootzWiki member green discovered something interesting: the TouchPad actually has USB host support, albeit limited. He was able to hook up a USB keyboard to the TouchPad and start typing.

Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that. While host support is there, the TouchPad doesn’t provide power out from its Micro USB port. Green’s setup went like such: a USB keyboard hooked up to a Y-adapter, with one end drawing power from a computer or AC adapter, the other going to a powered USB hub hooked up to the TouchPad via a USB-to-Micro USB adapter. Once all was plugged in, the TouchPad’s virtual keyboard dropped away just like it was hooked up to a Bluetooth keyboard. Of course, hooking up all that isn’t the best way to get your typing on, but it opens the door for future hacks to make this happen. Keyboards might just be the tip of the iceberg, and we’re hoping HP is pushing forward with implementing full USB host support for the TouchPad. (video of the whole process after the break)

But that’s not all! webOS developer Sam Beckett posted a joke onto Twitter about even HP engineers capitalizing it wrong as WebOS in the OS code, but we saw something else interesting in the code, in a file titled format_sd.sh:

Format an SD card on $1, wiping anything that might have been there. Call this when some random card is installed, Next time you boot the card will be mounted and have a cryptofs container created and mounted so it participates fully in WebOS.

This isn’t ready for use yet. We don’t yet have any way to ask users what they want to do when we can’t mount a card, and certainly can’t willy-nilly nuke whatever they had on it without asking.

Huhwha? There’s a whole file in webOS dedicated to how the OS will eventually support SD cards? Yep, it certainly appears that way. This makes sense in conjunction with the USB host support, and we’ve been seeing webOS fans clamoring for external card support since January 2009 when the original Pre was announced. As the file notes discussed, it’s not quite ready for public implementation, but the support was/is being worked on for future card slot-sporting webOS hardware. You know, if that ever happens.

Update: Sam confirmed for us an interesting tidbit about the SD card file: it was taken from the webOS 2.2 doctor!