The good news for Hewlett-Packard is that its TouchPad tablet is finally selling like hotcakes. The bad news is that the company isn't making any more TouchPads.
The TouchPad, which had been selling at $499 for the 16GB model and $599 for the 32GB when it launched July 1, is now being offered at $99.99 for the 16GB and $149 for the 32GB -- while they last. HP's web site has sold out of the tablet, as have Best Buy stores. Both companies said they will give a price match to any customers who bought the TouchPad at its previous prices.
The Right Price
Only last week, Best Buy reportedly had told HP it wanted to return unused stocks of tablets, having sold only 25,000 of 270,000 units in its inventory. HP resisted, and began implementing a variety of discounts to spur sales.
Then, late last week, HP announced it will discontinue all its webOS-based hardware by the fourth quarter, including its Veer and Pre smartphones and the TouchPad. According to Cathie Lesjak, HP's CFO, the software side of the webOS platform is not being shut down.
Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at the NPD Group, said the $99.99 price is a "different value proposition" in the minds of consumers, a price point where they're willing to take a chance -- even on a discontinued product. By comparison, he noted, the original $499 price raised questions in consumers' minds about whether a purchase would pay off in the long run.
Other Uses for webOS
Rubin noted that "it's unusual" that a product like the TouchPad to be pulled so soon after its launch. The company had hoped to position the TouchPad as the key competitor to Apple's category-defining iPad, a position that is still up for grabs. Tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Barnes & Noble's Nook Color "have sold pretty well," he said.
Unless HP is successful in licensing webOS to other manufacturers, purchasers of the TouchPad could find themselves with a futureless platform. But some developers have announced on the Rootz Wiki that they are working to bring Android to the TouchPad, an effort that has been dubbed "TouchDroid."
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company is working to have appliance and manufacturers use webOS in their products. HP CEO Leo Apotheker said earlier this summer that HP would begin talks with other companies about licensing webOS.
HP acquired webOS when it bought Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion. At the time, the company touted webOS as one of the key reasons for the purchase. Some industry observers have speculated that, in lieu of webOS products, HP might choose to capitalize more heavily on the webOS-related patents.
Posted: 2011-08-29 @ 11:29am PT
Is there a waiting list I can get on? Can they send Me an alert when the HP touchpad is available??
Posted: 2011-08-28 @ 2:17pm PT
Just tell me where I can purchase the $99 HP Touch Pad
Posted: 2011-08-23 @ 12:55pm PT
"Unless HP is successful in licensing webOS to other manufacturers, purchasers of the TouchPad could find themselves with a futureless platform."
Speak for yourself...I'm putting Linux on mine..