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HP TouchPad firesale spreads to the UK

Tablet price drops to £89 - down from £349, but retailers sell out rapidly...

Tablet price drops to £89 - down from £349, but retailers sell out rapidly...

HP webOS

HP's TouchPad dropped to £89, and many retailers have now sold out of the tabletPhoto: HP

The HP TouchPad firesale has reached the UK, with UK retailers offering the tablet - only launched last month - for £89, down from £349.

The tablet, running the webOS operating system, was only launched in July but disappointing sales of the device - seen as one of the more promising iPad rivals - led maker HP to pull the plug. The price of the gadget had already dropped to $99 at some US retailers, which then rapidly sold out.

Previously on sale for £349 for the 16GB TouchPad and £429 for the 32GB model, the device was selling for £89 and £115, at a number of retailers, but sold out within minutes.

The demise of the TouchPad, and the massive price cuts to shift the existing stock, is the result of a major change in strategy for HP. Last week, HP's CEO Léo Apotheker revealed the company intends to acquire Autonomy, is considering spinning off its PC business and will shutter its webOS device unit, home of the TouchPad.

"Consumers are changing the use of the PC. The tablet effect is real and sales of the TouchPad are not meeting our expectations. The velocity of change in the personal device marketplace continues to increase and the competitive landscape has grown increasingly more complex especially around the personal computing arena," Apotheker said at the time.

Update, 10:00 BST 23 August: Many retailers have now sold out of TouchPads. For example, Carphone Warehouse has a banner on its website reflecting the high demand the price cut generated, stating "HP TouchPad is currently out of stock online and by phone - please do not call us to order this product".