HP, make up your mind.

Aug 31 2011

HP said yesterday that they are going to produce another run of their little tablet that could, the HP TouchPad. It would be expected that the tablet will go on sale at the fire sale pricing of $99. In addition to all of this insanity, an HP spokesmen has also announced an over the air update that will add certain, unannounced capabilities to the WebOS tablet.

HP started this whole ride when they purchased Palm specifically for their new, cutting-edge mobile operating system, which Palm had dubbed WebOS. After the purchase, HP kept largely quiet in regards to their plan for WebOS, in an attempt to emulate the buzz that surrounds its rival, Apple, whenever they release a new product. In February of this year, HP announced three new WebOS products. The first was the Veer, a new phone featuring a 2.6 inch touch screen, a slide out keyboard, as well asĀ support for a new HP Touchstone Touch-to-Share proximity-based sharing feature.

The Pre 3 was also announced. This was supposed to their flagship phone. The original Pre, under the guidance of Palm, had gone head-to-head with Apple when they were just beginning to take over the smartphone arena with the iPhone 3G. Unfortunately, Palm was just a little too late to the game. Soon after the Pre was released, Apple announced their iPhone 3GS, a phone promising (and delivering) a faster processor and better battery life. Just like that, the Pre was practically outdated, and got pushed into the background to compete with the brand spanking new Google Android. We, of course, know how that battle went. This new challenge mixed with the trouble Palm had getting the Pre to multiple wireless networks, made the Pre a practical flop.

The third product announced was the most exciting. The TouchPad was set to go right against the Apple iPad. With a slick user interface and a lot of buzz, this was supposed to be the device that finally takes a chunk out of the iPad’s marketshare. Released with a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, and a 9.7 inch touch screen. The initial price was $499 for the low-end, 16 GB model. After terrible sales numbers, HP announced that they were going to cut the down to a somewhat easier to swallow $399. After even more sales woes, and reports from Best Buy that they had a warehouse full of 300,000 that were destined to be returned to HP, the official death of WebOS was announced on August 18th.

With the discontinuation of the TouchPad and all other WebOS products, HP announced that all remaining TouchPads would be sold for $99 and $149 for the 16 GB and 32 GB models respectively. As soon as the new priced TouchPads were available in stores there were wide-spread reports that they were sold out at all stores.

Whether HP decides to revive or sell off WebOS, having another production run is a brilliant move. The TouchPad is now the second best selling tablet on the market today, next to the iPad. If HP chooses to keep WebOS, they now have a lot of people out there, showing off their brand new tablet that they feel lucky to have gotten for a steal. This can only create more buzz around the next WebOS product they release. If they want to sell to, say, Samsung, having more TouchPads out in the wild is just increasing the value of the OS. The hope would be that they could make back some or most of their $2.1 billion lost from the purchase of Palm. Only time will tell the fate of WebOS, hopefully we’ll learn more in the coming weeks.

One response so far

  1. It will certainly be interesting to see how many they come out with here in this next run and how crazy people go for them…it’s several things we human beings love!…a limited supply, an unexpectedly great deal, the anticipation of this last run……..and hey, it’s almost as pretty as the iPad from a distance šŸ˜‰ I wonder what sort of bloodbath will rise when the Android tablet comes out priced lower than the iPad…

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