What Am I Going to Do With the HP Touchpad I Bought Last Night?

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After many delays, my train pulled into Washington, DC's Union Station around 2am last night. And for that, I have many thanks for the good people of Amtrak. No, seriously. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have been staring at my phone in the middle of night, when people started tweeting that Barnes and Noble had the HP Touchpad, the would-be iPad competitor, on sale for $100. Five minutes later, I'd purchased my plot in the doomed HP gadget ecosystem.

In the harsh light of the morning, the confirmation email from B&N no longer seemed like a sign of triumph. I feel more like I bought something dumb from As Seen on TV (Perfect MeatloafTM anyone). In other words, I am dealing with the existential consumer question, "What am I going to do with this thing I bought only because it seemed like a good deal?"

No, really, what am I going to do with this thing? As ZDNet notes, there is no app ecosystem. I mean, I know it can display Flash, so I can finally look at restaurant websites. And there's an Epicurious app, so maybe it'll act as an expensive cookbook. So, what else? Do I jailbreak it? Any other great ideas?

Update: Well, I checked the Barnes and Noble website and they appear to be unable to fulfill my order, despite not having emailed me that to say so. Further, they customer service number they provided for me to figure out what's going on would be best described as broken. So maybe I didn't actually buy one last night.

Which is too bad because @cebsilver on Twitter suggested an awesome use for the Touchpad: put Android on it, courtesy of some independent coders.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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