In my earlier 7 Computer Tablets to Consider post from July of 2011, HP TouchPad (a 9.7-inch tablet from HP that got in the spotlight back in February, to be available in summer of 2011) fell off my grid: on August 18th, HP announced that it is purchasing software company Autonomy, spinning off its PC division; and that it will discontinue its operations for webOS devices including the newly released TouchPad and any upcoming webOS phones.
As you may remember, last year HP purchased Palm for $1.2 billion, then re-branded Palm’s operating system to HP webOS with the release of the Pre 2 in October of 2010. Not even a year later, it has essentially killed off all TouchPad and Palm Pre devices, thus leaving the future of webOS in doubt.
In the brief moment in the sunshine, HP TouchPad had some attention. While looking up the information on the tables, I came across one of the most comprehensive reviews I’ve seen around, elegantly titled HP TouchPad Review by Tim Stevens.
Now, just a several weeks later, the new rollout is in place: HP has plans to produce another round of its TouchPad tablets before the year is out, seemingly unfazed by its earlier decision to discontinue its mobile hardware products. If you search the web for articles on this subject, you will find the plethora of commotion around this subject, mainly between “Apple Fanboys”(What’s the point if it’s not supported? ) and “HP Followers” (Hail webOS). Wired magazine published an article titled HP resurrects TouchPad tabled to pacify rabid customers by Mike Isaac. (Huh? Well, the title got my attention – and I presume that was the point.)
“Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand,” HP spokesman Mark Budgell informed the public in HP’s blog post. “We don’t know exactly when these units will be available or how many we’ll get, and we can’t promise we’ll have enough for everyone.” Mr. Budgell advises us to keep up with company’s FAQ page that will be publishing more information, as it unveils.
HP followed its announcement by slashing prices on remaining TouchPad inventory by more then a half – and that strategy paid off in having units flying off the shelves. Since the blowout sale prices, HP hasn’t been able to keep any TouchPads in stock: some retailers have reported being sold out.
According to HP personal systems group exec Todd Bradley, the company continues to explore licensing options for its proprietary operating system, webOS.
Well, let’s revisit this subject in two-months time. Meanwhile, I am thinking to pitch “HP flip-flops” as the promo item for the HP execs.