HP Touchpad Availability Update; Support Promised

  @ibtimes on August 30 2011 9:38 AM
HP TouchPad
The $99 HP TouchPad sale is expected to begin again, according to the Hewlett-Packard Co., which says it will release "one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand." Reuters

It's been more than a week since HP's Touchpad went on sale for $99 and sold out quickly thereafter; the company has recently released updates on the hot-selling device.

In a blog post, Mark Budgell, social media strategist on the HP public relations team, reiterated the company had a great response to the reduced price of the Touchpad. As a result, they are all out of devices and haven't set a clear timetable when more will be available. Budgell said it will be shortly.

HP will keep its consumers updated on the Touchpad's availability with this Web site, www.hp.com/go/touchpad-availability. Originally, HP added a link where users could subscribe to be notified when these products are back in inventory. However, due to high demand, the company took it down.

Meanwhile, Budgell said HP is promising support for the Touchpad, even though the company said it will no longer manufacture the device. He said any existing or future Touchpad consumer will be able to get full customer service on it.

We will honor our product warranties and will continue to provide support via services like the webOS Butler, our free setup support service available to all purchasers of HP webOS products for the first 90 days after purchase. We expect that HP TouchPad owners can look forward to an over-the-air update that will enhance the platform and add functionality and a growing applications catalog, Budgell said.

Despite being a device that's dead in the water, the HP Touchpad has become the second best selling tablet in the burgeoning market. Analysts say this just confirms the iPad is the only credible player since it can sell the tablet for a profit. By selling the Touchpad for $99, HP is losing money on each one sold.  

Although some analysts such as Sarah Rotman Epps from Forrester, said the impressive sales from HP show that webOS is a high quality OS and not just selling a cheap product. If it weren't, other cheap Android tablets would be doing just as well. Budgell said the company is also looking for additional ways to leverage the webOS operating system.

Budgell also cleared up some misconceptions on HP's PC business. He said the company wasn't getting out of PCs and remained committed to creating great devices.  The company, he said, is simply exploring its options.

We are the world's largest PC manufacturer and, whatever structure we ultimately take, we plan to continue delivering innovative products and stand by you. That means more great products to come, continued service and support - all the things you've told us you value, Budgell said.

Despite Budgell's blog and the company's assertion that its PC business is a Fortune 60 company in of itself, a recent report from Reuters said the company prefers to spin it off.   

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna

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