In a surprise move, HP has announced that it will make another batch of HP TouchPad tablets to meet the demand for a $99 tablet that doesn’t suck.
Yes, you read that right, HP has discovered that people will gladly pay $99 a pop for a web connected tablet with apps, and is going to try to meet the demand.
HP will make one more run of TouchPads before shutting down the line on October 31.
Presumably for good.
In a post on HP’s The Next Bench, Mark Budgell writes,
Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. 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.
HP won’t be making more accessories, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for all the cases and keystone chargers you want before buying a tablet with a known expiration date.
Why is HP making more TouchPads?
That’s a good question. With an estimated cost fo $318 per TouchPad, HP is losing over $200 on each tablet it sells. While this may have made sense as a way to kick off a product, taking losses up front for future success, it seems like an odd choice for a company that wants out of the hardware business.
Possibility #1 – HP is trying to make the WebOS platform more enticing for developers and companies like Samsung which may want to license or buy WebOS.
Possibility #2 – HP is faking us all out and plans to bring back the TouchPad. My colleague Kevin Purcell has said that HP could bundle a $99 TouchPad with a printer or a new computer and aim for long-term success. This is a tough sell if HP exits the hardware business, but it’s beginning to look like a possibility.
Possibility #3 – HP had a bunch of spare parts still sitting in China and wanted to finish off a contract and use up the extra parts instead of writing them off this year.
Possibility #4 – HP has no clue what it is doing and Leo Apotheker and his split personality are running HP like RIM is run. If that’s the case, who know’s what’s next. A TouchPad with a keyboard?
How to get a HP TouchPad
The new stock will take a few weeks to arrive for sale, but you can be sure that we’ll let you know when they are back in stock.
HP has said that they will limit orders to ensure that resellers don’t drain stock in minutes.