HP's $99 TouchPad fire sale 2.0: So much has changed

The time between HP's $99 TouchPad sales was less than four months, but the tablet market aftermath will be long-lasting.

Hewlett-Packard will kick off another $99 TouchPad sale via eBay. One catch is that these TouchPads are refurbished. The other catch is that the tablet market has completely changed since the first time HP had a TouchPad liquidation sale.

A bevy of folks are hot and heavy for the $99 TouchPad sale on eBay as outlined by TechCrunch, but the run this time will be nothing like the first go-round. Why? Tablets with actual ecosystems and apps are nearing the $199 mark. The funny thing is HP's first TouchPad sale started the race to the bottom for tablets.

HP's first fire sale in August was sheer bedlam. A tablet for $99! We all clicked and wasted hours trying to get one. Some of us were even dumb enough to go to Best Buy and look for one. The TouchPad looked like a screaming deal when all tablets were going for $499 and up.

We endured so much of this:

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After the TouchPad fire sale 1.0 ended it was clear that there was a new magic price for tablets. In fact, you almost feel silly for wanting a TouchPad the first time.

Enter Amazon's Kindle Fire. At $199, the Kindle Fire is a tablet equivalent of the razor-razor blade model. Buy the tablet, Amazon takes a small loss and then makes it up on movies, music, e-books and apps. Now Research in Motion is taking hefty financial charges and playing the $199 game too. It has no choice.

Related: Great Debate: Are $200 tablets a game changer? | Great Debate: Kindle Fire or iPad: Which one should you buy?

The tablet market's race to the bottom only took a few weeks.

So this Sunday, the second version of HP's TouchPad fire sale will be almost nostalgic---at least in tech terms. HP blew up the tablet market and we're on the way to an everyday price of $99 in the not-too-distant future. The time between $99 TouchPad sales was less than four months, but the aftermath will be long-lasting.


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