As part of a wrenching series of moves away from the consumer market, Hewlett-Packard stunned markets couple of weeks ago by killing off its TouchPad tablet and announcing its exit from the PC business. But now HP says it may restore the tablet to life as it mulls over a spinoff of its personal computer arm, said the head of its PC division.
With a $99 price tag, HP's WebOS TouchPad joined Dell Streak 5 in the tablet graveyard after just seven weeks on shelves, and given the weak sales of many other players, it looked like similar deaths were bound to follow.
HP's sudden pulling of the TouchPad proved that major tech companies have not been successful so far in taking a bite out of Apple's iPad. But considering HP's spinoff plans, it seems that the largest U.S. technology company by revenue has something else in mind.
The board of HP is expected to decide by the end of this year whether to split off its PC arm, which started selling the TouchPad in July, into a separate company, a move it considers the best for shareholders, Reuters reported.
In an interview, Personal Systems Group head Todd Bradley told Reuters he is ready to lead any separate company created, which he expects to be a full-grown maker spanning tablets, ultra-thin and all-in-one PCs.
Bradley said a spinoff of the Personal Systems Group will be the key for bringing the best value to HP shareholders for taxation and other reasons. My intention would be to lead it through this transaction ... and if it's a standalone public company, to lead that, he added.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said Aug. 18 that it would exit the PC business and stop production of WebOS-based devices. The announcement came amidst reports that retailers were complaining about sluggish TouchPad sales.
HP is now looking at options for the operating system, which it acquired through the acquisition of Palm, and it says a number of companies had expressed interest in possibly using WebOS as an operating system.
HP posts additional TouchPad tablet computer stock updates
Igniting more chatter of additional TouchPad tablet computer stock, Hewlett-Packard has introduced a notify me page that asks people to sign up for an e-mail alert when the next shipments go out. The company also answered various questions in its official blog regarding inventories, saying there would be more available shortly.
HP's fire sale on the TouchPad exhausted inventories for good in Canada, while the U.S. is still waiting for new stock. Many are eager to nab the $99 TouchPad deal, but the company asked consumers not to rush.
The fire sale marked the lowest price ever for the tablet, with 16GB versions going down to $99 and 32GB versions to $149. Major electronics retailers sold out nearly instantly, but HP confirmed that it still has more to push down the channel -- except in Canada.