*Update*

Hewlett-Packard on Thursday said that it would discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad tablets and smartphones. It also confirmed that it is exploring the possible spin-off or sale of its Personal Systems Group (PSG), which dominates the global PC market, PC World reports.

In response, HP ordered retailers in a memo to offer the TouchPad at a heavily discounted price of $99 for 16GB and $149 for 32GB, down from $500 and $600 when the models were released in July.

Similar discounts began to appear in the United States over the weekend.

In a statement, the company said: 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.

The company's board of directors has authorized HP to explore options for the PSG unit. HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction, the company said in a statement.

BBC News reported that HP contacted UK electronic retailers on Monday evening to notify them of a drastic reduction in the wholesale price.

Retailer Harvey Norman has ordered its franchisees to pull thousands of webOS-powered HP TouchPads off the shelves today, after the product manufacturer, Hewlett-Packard said overnight that it would no longer be producing the device.

HP has said it is looking at ways to continue development apps for its WebOS platform which the TouchPad runs.

Online retailer Dabs.com sold its stock of 500 TouchPads in just 15 minutes.

Because I can't be sure that webOS won't be supported ongoing, I've instructed my franchisees to take the TouchPad off the shelves. Not because HP told me to, just because we can't be sure if they're going to [be supported in future], McIntosh added.

According to CNET, who contacted HP to find out what the company plans to offer in terms of support for its existing WebOS products, an HP spokesman sent a one-sentence statement: HP stands by its customers. We will continue to support existing products.

While most vendors, including the manufacturer itself, declared to be out of stock of HP TouchPads during the fire sale, HP's social media manager Bryna Corcoran tweeted that more TouchPads should be available this week.

Home and Home Office Store: Confirmed they are definitely getting more. But not in stock just yet. Any day now. Stay tuned for more info, she tweeted.

According to Corcoran, the best way to try and get a TouchPad is to sign up for an alert to be notified when more are in stock.