TouchPad Sale Update: 'Don't Rush,' Says HP

 
on August 29 2011 10:31 AM

Hewlett-Packard's fire sale on the TouchPad tablet computer exhausted inventories for good in Canada, while the U.S. is still waiting for the next shipments. But the company said consumers shouldn't hold their breath.

An HP spokesman said no one should expect more TouchPads, at least not Monday.

Don't rush, Mark Budgell posted to Twitter, no availability today.

Budgell also answered customers' questions regarding the sale and inventories on HP's official blog.

We will have more information available in the next few days about whether or not more will be available and if so, what the details will be about the situation, the blog read.

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

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.

The company will take a $1 billion charge to write-off the hardware business of webOS, and moves toward higher value, higher margin growth categories, it said.

The TouchPad 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 the lack of a 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 at further development, but details remained scant.

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 Richard Kerris, senior vice president, global developer relations, earlier this month. 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 declined across the country.

Without further development, it would've meant consumers would be stuck with only the apps that currently exists, of which there aren't 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, it's unclear what that future will exactly be.

During a recent conference call with investors, HP Chief Executive 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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