After going public with its intention to kill the TouchPad, HP plans to churn out one last run of tablets.
The outsized demand generated by the weekend fire sale of TouchPad, has left HP pleasantly surprised. The price of the tablets had been slashed from $399 and $499 to only $99. This ignited an online frenzy and there were long lines at retailers, as bargain-hunters rushed to get hold of their devices. HPs entire inventory of TouchPads got sold in a matter of few days. Many prospective buyers were left complaining that they could find a TouchPad that they could buy at the fire sale price.
Now HP claims that in order to satisfy the pent-up demand for tablets it will produce one more line of such devices. In its official blog, HP wrote, Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. We dont know exactly when these units will be available or how many well get, and we cant promise well have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase.
Obviously HP will lose money on every TouchPad that it sells in the final production run. It has been estimated that it costs HP $318 to build a 32GB version of the TouchPad. Losing big bucks on hardware is an ugly business model, but its not uncommon, and it might just be the future of the tablet market. Just look at the market for gaming consoles, where hardware is sold for a slim profit, at best.
HPs blogpost goes on to say, "We don't know exactly when these units will be available or how many we'll get, and we can't promise we'll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase." There is no dearth of critics, who have been blasting HP for wavering on pivotal decisions, such as its original stated intention to integrate its webOS software into every device it makes, followed by a decision to stop making webOS gadgets, including the TouchPad.
Beyond the message on the blogpost, HP has declined to comment.