HP Touchpad – gone for good or marketing genius?

The HP Touchpad arrived to lukewarm response in an already Apple-dominated market, but nonetheless it offered impressive hardware specs and was build on the WebOS operating system HP inherited from their purchase of Palm.

Just a few months after the launch, HP announced a u-turn in their strategy, and a shock exit of the Tablet and PC hardware market. HP then made steps to sell off their remaining stock (up to 250,000 units) by making heavy reductions to $99 for the entry-level model.

At this price level, it’s a serious consideration as a digital photo frame, or inexpensive web tablet – but there are already plans from groups of independent developers to try and port Android to the hardware.

Today, the UK had their turn at getting ahold of one of these devices, starting at £89. Within hours of it’s announcement, major retailers had been brought to their knees, with Carphone Warehouse and Comet’s websites becoming inaccessible and Currys, Dixons and PC World also receiving huge visitor numbers. 3 hours on, it is believed that the retailers who reduced their prices have sold out.

This leads me to think, what is going to happen to these 250,000 Touchpads in existence? Are HP really turning their back on them just months after their launch, or was this part of some master plan to do some serious market penetration?

Of course sales numbers are nothing like that of the iPad, but thousands have flocked to try and get one. The WebOS operating system was promising when launched on Palm devices, and perhaps reports of it’s death were premature, and this was part of a seriously clever PR stunt.

I spent a good hour fighting with Comet.co.uk to eventually place my order, and fingers crossed they have the stock to fulfil my order. Did you order one? How was your experience? 

1 comment

  • Andy Warburton August 22, 2011

    if it is a marketing exercise, these guys must be freaking insane!

    However, I don’t think it is as they also announced they were closing their PC division at the same time.


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