Like a celebrity more popular in death than in life, Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet, discontinued last week, is selling out everywhere at heavily reduced prices. Now HP says it will release more TouchPads from its inventory and that it will continue to support webOS in some ways.
Last Thursday, HP announced it would no longer manufacture devices using its webOS platform, which it obtained when it bought Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010. By Monday, the tablets were selling at $99 for the 16GB model, which was $499 when first released in July, and $149 for the 32GB, formerly $599. That radical price drop led to a run on the remaining tablets, with the HP web site, Best Buy, Amazon.com and other retailers reporting sellouts.
On the HP company blog, The Next Bench, PR Manager Mark Budgell wrote that, although there has been "great response" to the fire-sale prices, TouchPads are "temporarily out of stock on hp.com and at some local retailers."
But, he added, "the good news is that we will have more available shortly." The company has set up an e-mail sign-up so prospective customers can be notified when more tablets become available.
Budgell also wrote that HP is "fully committed to providing support and service" to customers who bought webOS devices.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said HP "is finding new inventory because they got a lot of it back" from Best Buy when the tablets weren't selling at the original price.
He said HP is "taking a bath" selling the remaining TouchPads, and is delivering mixed messages about webOS support. The company, he noted, is saying it will no longer be making the hardware, but is keeping the OS alive, and that it's not investing in the OS, but will be providing updated versions.
'A Terrific OS'
WebOS is, "technically, a terrific OS," Greengart said, but it has no developer support, now has no continuing hardware platform, and looks like it doesn't "have any future."
He said it's likely the buyers of the discontinued TouchPads are hackers "getting them because they offer hacker toys" -- that is, a platform on which to experiment.
Some observers have noted that the run on the tablet once it dropped to $99 indicated that consumers were waiting for a low-priced tablet, but Greengart said any maker of a $99 tablet would lose a bundle.
Such a strategy could conceivably use the game-console model, he said, where hardware is sold at a loss and the money is made in licensing fees from games. But that is "really hard to do when you're talking about a percentage of a 99-cent app," he noted.
A group of hackers recently announced their intention to port Android to the TouchPad, creating what they're calling the TouchDroid. But others have noted that the device then becomes just one more Android tablet.
Posted: 2011-08-27 @ 11:15pm PT
There's a generation who just browse and email, so for $99 or $149, it's a big plus. Let's have something for the non-techies and geeks!
Posted: 2011-08-25 @ 6:54pm PT
A $99 Paper Weight.
Posted: 2011-08-25 @ 5:15am PT
yet another Android tablet... but a $99.00 Android Tablet.
Posted: 2011-08-24 @ 9:41pm PT
Posted: 2011-08-24 @ 5:42pm PT
I cant wait to get one
Posted: 2011-08-24 @ 1:03pm PT
this is awesome
Posted: 2011-08-24 @ 12:41pm PT
HP.. OH HP... the touch pad was the only competitor to the IPad in Function... time to sell off that HP stock
Willie N. Faulkner:
Posted: 2011-08-24 @ 12:20pm PT
HP management should have been more aggressive in insuring that the touchpad that was developed was compatible with Apples's ipad from a technical, application and a performance standpoints. Also a top notch quality procurement department has become a lost profession at most companies. What you have now are people that only know how to place a P.O. for raw materials. You need very skilled senior procurement people that know how to reduce costs, in other words you need the best Senior Buyers, and Component Specialist that are proficient in keeping component cost down, getting on time delivery and working closely with the legal department to put the best flexible material contracts in place with quality suppliers; with emphasis on volume purchasing, low cost, quality, and on time delivery and year to year costs reductions working with a manufacturing management group that understand the synergy between procurement and manufacturing. There are excellent engineering and development people, i.e. application developers, and product engineers, but if you do not know how to go after quality suppliers with the best procurement people, and the best purchasing practices, you end up with devices that costs hundreds of dollars more than they should.What is wrong with a ROI of 30% on a touchpad? Lower Overhead costs and procurement costs, and go get some of the best developers in the world and never let an inferior product out the door until you know it measures up to Apple's ipad. A superior product at a lower sale costs could have been achieved as a challenge to Apple. You play only to win, not to come in second or third. There are too many white shirt eggheads that do not understand the dynamics of procurement because it is not as glamorous as application development. HP management bungled the touchpad. Give me the Bill of Material and the number of units to be built and a little lead way in sourcing suppliers and the material costs and perhaps unit price for these devices could have been lowered significantly;If overhead and on hand inventory was under control. You must have a cross integration of departments, from development through manufacturing that understand costs at every level of the process and work to achieve costs reduction at every level.