After missing earnings by a long-shot and announcing the divestiture of its webOS smartphone and tablet business, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HP) is now slashing the prices of its TouchPad tablet.
The 16 GB Touchpad, which was originally launched at $499 and the 32 GB at $599, was slashed by $100 earlier this month to push the sales.
HP will be lowering the price of the TouchPad beginning Saturday 8/20/11. This is the lowest price ever for the TouchPad so please post it as soon as it goes live, read a memo sent to the company associates.
But is it even worth $99?
There are strengths for sure.
The WebOS operating system could be the best mobile operating system of any device -- whether from Apple, Google or Microsoft. It's as intuitive and sleek as any iPad device, but offers the power and flexibility you would expect from Android or Windows Mobile.
This will make for a strong stand-alone product -- something you wouldn't get with RIM's Playbook, for instance. It does all the basics you need out of the box -- emails, multimedia playback, and a strong web experience.
But the allure of competitors is going to be the experience beyond the operating system, and this is where the TouchPad won't deliver.
The webOS ecosystem is one of the least developed of all the major rivals. This means users will be stuck with what comes out of the box. Apps are few, and far in between, and with HP dropping support, it most likely will never get support.
As an analogy think of Microsoft Windows 7. It's a good, solid performer, with a number of built-in features that makes it useful when you first fire it up. But then also imagine if you could never install anything onto it -- no Microsoft Office, no Firefox, no iTunes. It would get old very fast.
The TouchPad hardware is also quite limiting. It has the basic specs: The 9.7 inch Touchpad, which comes along with a 1,024 x 768 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1.3 megapixel camera.
But despite good specs, remember webOS is a cutting edge operating system. Even on this hardware it feels sluggish, and that's a shame. It would have needed at least one more upgrade before it was on par with the iPad 2 as far as a smooth user experience.
The price does make it significantly less than any other decent tablet on the market now, however. So if you aren't concerned about the best performance and expandability, and you have money to burn, get it.
If not, you would be better served saving up for a rival iPad or maybe a Samsung Galaxy S2.