Hewlett-Packard, who may have inadvertently jump-started widespread interest in tablet computers with a deep price discount in September, will again be selling their now discontinued TouchPad tablets for $99 on Sunday, Dec.11. When the TouchPad first came out, the price was $400, nearly as much as an iPad. Sales slumped, and HP ended up abandoning the device, and the webOS operating system that they had paid millions of dollars for just a few months before.

The company decided to unload their inventory of un-sold tablets for just $99, and they sold out in just a couple of days. People didn't even care that it doesn't have access to the popular app stores from Apple or Google, but were willing to take a chance on the devices for such a low price. At the time, HP promised to have one more round of TouchPad sales, and the time has come for a last round of sell offs for the now defunct device.

However, the $99 16 gigabyte and $149 32 gigabyte devices that are going on sale Sunday are not brand new, they are refurbished, tech blog TechCrunch reported. They will go on sale on eBay at 7 p.m. Eastern time and can only be purchased via PayPal. There is a limit of two per customer. The TouchPad will be listed under the laptops section of the online auction house.

Of course, interest in tablets has also been sparked by the Amazon Kindle Fire and its $200 price tag, but it is not as adept at doing things that a fuller tablet like the TouchPad can do. Likewise, a company called Ainovo has plans on bringing out a $99 tablet that would run the Google Android system and it's latest updated version known as Ice Cream Sandwich. It's called the Novo7 in China, and is made with technology not in use in the U.S. The microchips are based on a system called MIPS, and they are obviously cheaper, but not as efficient or powerful as the more familiar x86 designs we see in the West. The Chinese government heavily subsidizes the MIPS technology and that is one reason it is so cheap. The Novo7 won't be available in the U.S. for a few months at least, but the TouchPad is a better choice anyway. Just remember to hit eBay on Sunday by 7 p.m. Eastern to get a refurbished 9.7-inch screen TouchPad for $99. Tell us in the comments if you plan on picking one up.

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