SiliconFilter

$99 TouchPad Fire Sale Sets Off Internet Frenzy

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Nobody wanted to buy a TouchPad at $499 (for the 16GB version). Very few people wanted to buy one at the reduced price of $399. At $99, however, it’s hard to say no to any decent tablet, even if it’s a discontinued model. Now that some resellers have started to discount the HP TouchPad base model after the company announced that it would exit the tablet market altogether earlier this week, some parts of the Internet have started to feel like Black Friday in August.

While Best Buy in Canada was already selling the TouchPad at the highly discounted price, few U.S. outlets offered the discounted price so far. Some enterprising shoppers have found ways to get a hold of some units, though. HP itself, for example, was selling $99 TouchPads on its site for academic users and those with HP Employee Purchase Programs sponsored by their companies. Those units are gone now.

I doubt HP ever saw quite a run on a product like tonight – especially one that was, until today, an extremely unpopular one. Today, however, the folks over at deals forum SlickDeals have already posted almost 350 pages worth of comments about this deal. Users there are hunting the Internet for new stock somewhere and are counting down the time until Amazon could potentially offer the $99 deal as well. There is also quite some confusion about whether Best Buy will have $99 units in stock tomorrow morning – or if all the unsold inventory will be shipped back to HP.

Overall, then, this must be a rather depressing moment for HP. It’s flagship tablet is finally selling like hotcakes (or iPads) – but at a major loss for the company.

 



6:01 am


HP Gives up on webOS Hardware, Leaves Door Open for Licensing

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When Hewlett-Packard (HP) bought Palm in 2010, it looked like webOS still had a bright future. First developed by Palm on top of a Linux kernel, webOS looked like it could potentially rival Android and even iOS at some point, especially given that HP wanted to put its full marketing power behind it. Today, however, HP announced that, as part of a major reshuffle of its business, it would stop developing webOS devices altogether.

Those webOS devices HP came up with, however, were at best minor successes and at worst, as in the case of the TouchPad tablet, major disasters (even though the hardware really wasn’t that bad). HP was never able to convince developers to release software for the platform and consumers aren’t likely to buy a device that doesn’t feature the right apps.

Here is the language from HP’s press release:

In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

Surprise

In the past, HP was rather bullish on webOS. Just a week ago, the company was still talking about taking it beyond the tablet and phone and bring it to cars. HP also planned to bring it to Windows PCs as either a secondary operating system or as a shell on top of Windows.

No More HP webOS Devices

While HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker noted that the TouchPad did fulfill the company’s sales expectations, few expected the company to fully cancel the program altogether. In today’s earning’s call, he also noted that HP sees “too long a ramp-up in the market share” and hence decided to exit the market space as it is “no longer in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.” Interestingly, Apotheker only talked about the tablet business and didn’t address the phone business at all.

Given that HP still hopes to “optimize the value of the webOS software going forward,” there is still some hope that the company will choose to license it to other manufacturers or sell it to a competitor.

It’s hard to imagine who would be interested in the software, though, as virtually all of HP’s competitors already have their open tablet operating systems.

 



9:14 pm