HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

Summary: We are fond of referring to the calm before the storm, but as activity winds down in the webOS world given the final run of TouchPads currently being created, we may only see a lot more calm.

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TOPICS: Hewlett-Packard
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There are few (if any) tales in the tech world as convoluted and bizarre as the HP TouchPad story. Not that long ago HP purchased webOS and creator Palm for $1.2 billion, leading to the launch of the conpany's first (and now only) webOS tablet, the TouchPad.

A lackluster launch resulted in giant HP throwing in the towel, cancelling the TouchPad and (and all webOS devices) a mere 49 days after that launch. HP promptly dropped the price of the beleaguered TouchPad to a mere $99, resulting in lines at retail stores and online shoppers clogging online community forums as they were unable to get one at the ridiculous price.

Finally, HP decided to clear out the inventory of parts used in the TouchPad, and announced it would make one more production run of as many as 200,000 TouchPads.

The firesale of TouchPads touched off a frenzy of activity as hundreds of thousands snatched up a TouchPad at the reduced price. This caused a firestorm of coverage on tech sites like this one, and set off a buying spree for TouchPad apps that had a few developers smiling. I spoke to several developers who saw a 10x increase in sales the past month, and one who has seen sales in the five figures during this time. This activity is not that surprising given how short a time the TouchPad was on the market and how many have purchased one. The novelty period of a new gadget has been in full swing.

The activity has calmed down as buyers have received their new $99 TouchPad and learned about the webOS platform and the tablet. Those that are going to buy apps for the tablet have likely already done so, and things should be calming down quickly. The final production run of TouchPads may trigger activity in the channel for retailers and developers alike, but this shouldn't last long given the reduced number of new buyers generated.

Sadly, the reality that no new TouchPads will ever be made by HP after this final hurrah means the platform is in for a very long quiet time. HP is shopping the platform around, but even if it gets a buyer (or licensor) onboard it will be some time before any devices would hit the market. It is not clear what developers will do going forward, but it is likely more than a few of them will jump platforms. People have to make money and a dormant platform is not a good way to do that so who can blame them.

In life we are fond of referencing the calm before the storm, but unfortunately this webOS calm may be preceding a really long calm period.

Additional HP TouchPad coverage:

Topic: Hewlett-Packard

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23 comments
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  • Enjoy the Labor Day holiday, James.

    Your labor of love in behalf of the WebOS platform was and continues to be a noble endeavor.

    However, there are better hardware tablets already on the market. (recall HP engineers hacked WebOS and installed it on an Apple iPad2 only to discover a substantial hardware speed increase.)

    In six months or so, a rumored retina display tablet with the next gen SoC will be available and sooner than that, Android apps should be available on the RIMM Playbook platform, as Peter Perry reported recently in a talkback post. (which means your preferred app ecosystem should become available on your preferred tablet size.)
    kenosha77a
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @kenosha7777 better hardware is not the question, we're talking about this one because it's less than 150$ for 32 gig
      fredericr
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @kenosha7777 Well WebOS is fast, that is what everyone who has used it has said. I personally haven't really used it, but it seems pretty nice. Unfortunately its probably going to die now.
      Jimster480
      • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

        HP touchpad's, Apple's iPad (if it doesn't already) seem like shit, when Sony's Tablet S comes out. You can play PS games on it along with using android apps.. Here is more information about it for anyone who wants to read more: http://tablettechtoday.com/blogposts/sony-tablets-release-date-announced.html
        Zach456
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    Tech-bloggers are such douche-bags!! First you jump out of your pants, telling anyone that will listen they should run to the store & buy a cheap TouchPad. Now, you're telling everyone that listened to you that they'll be left in the cold?!? Why not just say that from the beginning? Can't wait 'til the advertisers realize how useless you guys are!!
    SBMobile
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      They were saying the entire time that HP was washing their hands of it, but that it made an excellent and cheap tablet despite that.

      Calm down.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @SBMobile

      He's not saying WebOS users will be left out in the cold. He's saying DEVELOPERS are in for a dry spell.
      tkejlboom
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    To be honest I had wondered if HP had tried to be clever and create a market for the TouchPad and it's apps. If there is a larger market there is something worth selling (even if it is just a license) . Especially when they are about to release another 200,000 devices into the market place -- ok, still not 'Apple' numbers but an interesting move

    http://www.theonlycog.com/post/hp-touchpad-shrewd-marketing
    justdaj
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    As I said a few weeks ago, the device is obsolete and the platform is dead. Get over your $650 loss and move on!
    lgpOnTheMove
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @lgpOnTheMove
      Funny thing is that no one lost $650 on the TouchPad. The bizarre thing about the TouchPad and HP is that as the device dropped in price, HP gave money back to the early buyers. I bought mine for $648 and I received $488 in cash the day after the fire sale started. I ended up only paying $150 plus tax for it, since it is a 32gb. I bought another one to use as an e-reader for my wife. It was cheaper than and bigger than a Kindle. The device and OS are nice. HP was stupid to stop selling them. Drop the price but don't throw in the towel.
      theKid_z
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    Best $99 tablet ever. Should tide me over for a year plus .... At which point there will be some great cheap options!
    chapelhillice
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    Somewhere, probably in the federal government, a lonely and tired PDP-11 chugs away. It hasn't had new software or an upgrade in fifteen years. But it's still doing what they bought it to do.

    That's all that matters: does it do what you bought it to do.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @Robert Hahn I don't know about any PDP-11s still chugging along. I do still use my Palm z-31. I was hoping HP would eventually sell something in that form factor with webOS, since I don't want to use a smart phone. I like that it fits into my pocket. Oh, well, as long as it holds a charge.<br><br>Paul
      pfyearwood
    • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

      @Robert Hahn It probably hasn't crashed in that 15 years, either.
      dqkennard
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    If this product is truly dead then why did HP split the divisions and move the WebOS Technology Group into a division they have no plans to eliminate?

    http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2011/09/05/hp_split_webos/
    slickjim
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    CM7 FTW!
    nategator
  • Message has been deleted.

    foresttrailacademy
  • HP TouchPad and WebOS

    After using iOS and Android, the HP WebOS interface is a real pleasure to use. The Apps available now are quite good. Hopefully, with over a half million sold HP tablets, APP development will continue and HP will continue to improve the interface. At $99 and $150, the bargain is overwhelming to a 10 inch tablet. Even at $300, it would still be bargain if picked up by another company. Little commented on are the outstanding sound quality, screen appearance, and better typing keyboard than Android or Apple.
    jb4h
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    As someone who has ordered an HP Touchpad from HP SMB I can only say that their ordering process leaves much to be desired. Order status checks are useless and information is next to nil. HP will never receive another order from me,
    Web OS may be great but HP deserves all of the negative fallout it receives.
    bdk5
  • RE: HP TouchPad: The calm before... a really long calm

    1) Still amazes me how many people bash the thing, without ever actually having used it.
    2) If you have already spent your $500+ on an iPad, it isn't for you anyway ...
    3) as a web browsin', e-readin', e-mail checkin', Beats Audio sound playin' device that can also play movies - and Angry Birds - for $99, you can't beat it. Anybody who goes as far as to say it is a waste of money is just myopic ...
    kirddes