HP TouchPad sale ignites $99 webOS tablet grab

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - August 22, 2011.

[Updated with yet more HP TouchPad tablet $99 sale info]

HP TouchPad
HP (NYSE:HPQ) is having a mad TouchPad sale. At $99 for the 16GB webOS tablet, people are snapping them up as fast as HP and retailers can unpack them from their shipping containers. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder this August madness.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: a classic Monday movie mashup...

Agam Shah reports:

Best Buy...buyers were streaming in overnight...attracted by the price of...$99 for 16GB of storage, and $150 for 32GB. ... Heavily discounted Palm smartphones were also picked up and cleared. ... The fire sale came just two days after HP said...it would immediately stop development of the TouchPad...[and] smartphones, including the Pre and Veer.


The TouchPad went on sale in early July, but it couldn't compete. ... By the end of July, HP was offering $50 "instant rebates"...and cut the price by $100 the following week. ... Despite discontinuing hardware sales, HP said it will continue support and development of the webOS.   

Verne G. Kopytoff adds:

[It] set off demand that H.P...only wishes it had seen in July. ... [It's] an ignominious end to the...would-be competitor to Apple’s iPad. ... H.P. is asking that people still interested in buying a TouchPad sign up for alerts about future availability.   

John P. Mello Jr. paints a picture:

Suppose HP sells half a million TouchPads at deeply discounted prices. ... That isn’t a stretch. ... Those sales will hurt all tablet makers, but the impact will be less severe for...Apple, than those selling [much less], like Samsung or Research In Motion.


While consumers may benefit...in the short run, in the long run, they may be...hurting competition...and furthering Apple's dominance of the market. ... Ironically, HP has decided to discontinue the TouchPad just when...it may [have been] gaining some traction. ... The demise of the TouchPad raises an interesting question about...pricing...it could be a key in breaking Apple's grip on the market.   

But Paul Thurrott likens HP to a drug dealer:

These devices aren't really about the hardware, or the specs, or most of the other technical gobbledygook. ... [F]ar more important is [the] ecosystem surrounding the devices. ... [D]on't be fooled by the Crazy Eddie pricing you're seeing out there.


The TouchPad was worthless when it was fully supported. So it's beyond worthless now.   

However, James Kendrick has tweaky tips to help you get the most out of your fire-sale tablet:

[F]ollow my simple directions to dramatically improve the TouchPad performance.


[S]elect the DialPad tab and enter the following ... ##LOGS# (##5647#) ... Hit the...Dial button. ... [S]elect Change Logging Levels. ... Set Logging To Minimal.


In the Just Type search box...type in...webos20090606 ... Hit the Developer Mode icon that appears. ... [D]ownload and install...Preware...run it and install...EOM Overlord Monitoring. ... Next in Preware install the following patches: Muffle System Logging ... Remove Dropped Packet Logging.


[It's] a very simple process. ... [T]he benefits...will be noticeable.   

Meanwhile, Nick Farrell has bad news for those hoping HP will license webOS:

[P]undits are failing to notice...that WebOS failed twice, firstly for Palm and then for HP.


While the TouchPad did have some lousy hardware, the biggest...problem was that it was not supported by developers. Consumers...could not have the same apps that they would have got from their Apple or Android Stores. [webOS] was not as well developed as Windows Mobile 7...or RIM. 


The other problem for anyone who would licence WebOS is that they would not get any support. ... The only way that [HP] would be interested...was if the licence fee was high enough. But...then OEMs might as well go for Windows 7 or RIM.   

And Barbara Krasnoff has an "unwarranted sense of amusement":

[W]hile the few unfortunates who had purchased the TouchPad at full price were returning theirs, people...were clicking frantically on various websites...trying to get one before they were sold out.


Rootz Wiki, has introduced a project called Touchdroid to...port Android to the TouchPad, and Ubuntu enthusiasts are working on things...as well. ... [If] you want a piece of tech to...port another OS onto, this is a great way to get something for...less than it cost to manufacture.


[I wonder] if a company will [be] smart enough to...create a decent tablet that can sell for $100 and still make a profit. ...[It] could become very popular.   

   And Finally...
Monday movie mashup
[hat tip: b3ta]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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