Friday, August 26, 2011

The HP Touchpad Finally Finds Love

A Hewlett-Packard sponsored Porsche 997 GT3 Cuo
I'm continuing to lust after the $99 closeout HP touchpad but with the exception of a brief window in time this past Sunday/Monday it's begining to look like they are about as common as a humble politician.

HP's web site did claim more would be coming up until sometime between Tuesday evening and the wee hours of Wednesday morning but now they just say "Out of Stock". Online reports indicate that even people who work for HP aren't sure if or when more stock will show up.
There seems to be a lot of supply in the grey market with EBay and Amazon's marketplace showing several sources willing to sell for around $230 to $260 as I write this. Actually some people are asking a lot more than that but I doubt they are getting many bites with lower prices being available.
It's kind of odd that HP has been sending mixed signals this week. They should know their supply chain well enough to understand what they have in the pipe. They seemed ot think they were going to have more, now they are saying the opposite. I have a couple of different theories about where the remaining supply has gone.

My first theory is that they realize they low balled their clearance price a bit and are trying to figure out how to extract a few extra dollars from their remaining stock gracefully. Maybe a big shareholder called up and read them the riot act.
My second theory is that HP is going to sell all of their remaining units through channel partners, possibly to help assuage some of the frustration those partners likely have thanks to HP abandoning the tablet market suddenly. Heck, it was only a couple of weeks back that they were talking about being comfortable with the number two spot in the tablet market. A lot of people have gotten whiplash on that one.

Actually a third theory just occurred to me. Based on the frenzy around the $99 clearance HP has decided they really do have a future in the tablet market and is regrouping to announce they've changed their mind. I don't have an opinion on whether they should or shouldn't have abandoned the tablet market but if this one is true they need to take a reality check. The only thing the recent feeding frenzy proved is that even flawed products can be attractive if the price is low enough. We Americans love a sale more than just about anything else.

A lot of these bargain basement HP touchpads are going to end up with Android installed. That is my plan if I get my hands on one. I'll give WebOS a brief test drive but I have zero desire to learn a third platform, particularly one that is apparently dead.

Image via Wikipedia
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