HP may have killed the TouchPad, but if the past week is any indication, the tablet is far from dead.
First, start with the post-mortem sales of the TouchPad, which some have speculated have launched the tablet into the second place spot, behind the iPad. I'm not quite true if that's true - at least not yet. But the TouchPad's firesale weekend certainly breathed new life into the tablet. Now the question is, what will HP do with it?
One answer seems to be to continue to support the tablet, starting with an upcoming update. "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," an HP spokesperson told CNET.
That's not the language one typically uses to describe a dead product line. Then again, HP had been saying from the beginning that even if the TouchPad was abandoned, it would continue to support webOS.
But there's more. As it turns out, HP plans to produce one more run of the TouchPad to satiate demand. Read that again: They are going to create more of them.
"HP will be manufacturing a limited quantity of TouchPads with webOS during our fourth fiscal quarter 2011, which ends October 31," the company wrote.
That doesn't sound discontinued to me.
To add fuel to the fire, consider the comments HP Personal Systems Group head Todd Bradley made to Reuters recently. "Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely," Bradley said, going as far as to say that HP could resurrect the TouchPad.
Of course, there is also the inevitable question of whether HP's TouchPad revival would have any supporters. Certainly retailers like Best Buy are peeved with the company's recent tactics. Same goes for HP's suppliers, which are reportedly stuck with thousands of parts for HP's aborted TouchPad Go. Situations like that certainly don't breed confidence.
Can HP turn the TouchPad's situation around? The company says it doesn't plan to, but there certainly seems to be a lot more going on with the TouchPad than HP is letting on.