It is hard to believe that the #2 Tablet in the world was released and cancelled within six weeks … but that is the situation with the HP TouchPad. ‘Soft launched’ in early July and formally launched a couple of weeks later, the webOS tablet was cancelled with the entire webOS product line by mid-August and existing inventory sold off quickly in a ‘fire sale’.
In early August Staples had a big sale paired with a ‘weekend coupon’ from HP for $100 off, making the TouchPad a delicious $299! Yet I didn’t buy one, and described why here. I also subsequently discussed the abysmal TouchPad sales and then derided HP as ‘three time losers’ regarding webOS.
Yet after selling a debatable amount of TouchPads for $99/$149 – enough that everyone including HP is out of stock – HP finds themselves as the #2 player in a market they abandoned. Certainly it is easy to ascribe this success to the sale related to HP admitting failure in the market, which is in itself a bit of a conundrum.
But the reason I am posting all of this? Digitimes is reporting that HP is planning a final manufacturing run of ~100,000 – 200,000 TouchPads, in order to meet demand – and also to deal with their supply chain issues. Ostensibly these TouchPads will sell for the $99/$149 pricing established on August 19th by HP, and also will be sold only through HP directly. HP has also said they plan to restrict sales to ‘one per household’ to avoid the eBay resale scammers that have been rampant with the last sale.
Exactly how many TouchPads HP has sold is still unknown, with some speculating that HP originated supply chain orders for either 500,000 or 1,000,000 units. The Digitimes article indicates that HP has received ~800,000-900,000 units, and that using up existing supply chain stock of custom components will give them a nice round million units. Given that the Android market is filled with either mediocre sales (PlayBook) or falsified numbers (Galaxy Tab), that is enough to put HP second only to Apple … but of course it got there by selling units at ~33% of manufacturing costs!
As of right now this run is planned to hit retail in late October, meaning that HP’s site and the internet in general will be whipped into a frenzy during that time period. As soon as I learn anything more … I will let you know!
UPDATE: Francis managed to secure an order through HP Small & Medium Business, and yesterday he got the following email (many folks have reported seeing the same):
Of course, not only does this mean that Francis and others will be waiting until mid-to-late October for their TouchPads … it also means that THOSE orders will be filled out of the final manufacturing run (meaning HP screwed up taking orders like everyone else but had the luxury to not cancel). That means there will be fewer than the 100,000 – 200,000 units actually available …