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

Summary: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.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Mobility


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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