Canada Sells out of $99 HP TouchPad, U.S. Still in Luck

 
on August 24 2011 10:48 PM
Hewlett Packard (HP)
Just when you thought Hewlett Packard's webOS was done for, the little operating system lives to fight another day. HP has promised to make more tablets with the webOS system with the software actually going the open source route like Google's Android. Reuters/HP

HP's fire sale on its TouchPad tablet computer this week has led to inventories to be replenished in Canada, but there is still hope for U.S. consumers waiting to get in on the bargain.

Following last week's dismal earnings announcement, HP said that, among other things, it would shed its PC and tablet computer division, and subsequently started liquidating all of the TouchPad inventory on Saturday.

The fire sale marked the lowest price ever for the tablet, with 16GB versions dropping to $99 and $149 for 32GB. Major electronics retailers sold out nearly instantly, but HP confirmed it still has more to push down the channel -- except in Canada.

HP Canada is out. Completely. FOREVA! Don't call them, Hp's Bryna Corcoran Tweeted on Thursday. She did say more were coming to the US, however could not offer a firm date.

I don't have precise ETA on when more are coming in. Just that YES HP Home and Home office store will get some soon.

The company will take a $1 billion charge to write-off the hardware business of WebOS, and moves towards higher value, higher margin growth categories, focus its strategic priorities of cloud, solutions, and software, and drive differentiation.

The fire sale marks a bitter end to a much-hyped device that was only able to see 48 days as a potential iPad contender. Its operating system, dubbed webOS, was picked up from a Palm acquisition last July for $1.8 billion. It was hailed as a viable alternative to Apple's own iOS and Google's Android.

Despite multiple price drops and plenty of hype, the tablet suffered from tepid reviews and a lacking software ecosystem.

While the tablet itself will no longer be made, the future of the operating system may find other opportunities in other devices as representatives have hinted on further development, but remained scant on details.

Yesterday we announced that we will focus on the future of webOS as a software platform but we will no longer be producing webOS devices, said  HP's global developer relations SVP, Richard Kerris. While this was a difficult decision, it's one that will strengthen our ability to focus on further innovating with webOS as we forge our path forward.

Kerris' statement should come as good news to the consumers who snapped up the TouchPad tablet after it hit shelves July 1. It also should reassure consumers who picked up the tablet this weekend as prices dropped in a fire sales across the country.

Without further development, it would have meant consumers would be stuck with only the apps that currently exists, of which there are not many. It would also mean webOS based smartphones and tablets would never see an upgrade.

We will continue to support, innovate and develop the webOS App Catalog, Kerris said. Our intent is to enhance our merchandising and presentation of your great products and to continue to build our webOS app ecosystem.

While HP still sees a future for the webOS and its associated apps, its unclear what that future will exactly be.

During a conference call with investors, HP chief Leo Apotheker said the company will seek to gain value from WebOS in an as-yet-to-be-determined fashion, adding to the mystery.

 

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