updated 08:00 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2011
HP TouchPad fire sale already active
HP acted on hints of a closeout for the TouchPad by cutting prices drastically through at least some stores. In an affiliate copy sent to Electronista and others, the 16GB TouchPad's price has been cut to a quarter of its previous value at $100. The 32GB model has a steeper discount again at $150.
While the fate of the 64GB TouchPad hasn't gone through, HP will make the price cuts official on Saturday, August 20. US stores are still showing the earlier pricing, but Best Buy Canada and Future Shop have jumped ahead and are already selling at the much lower prices. It's not evident if HP will give partial refunds for those who bought TouchPads before the new pricing takes effect.
HP doesn't formally exit the webOS hardware business until the fall. It's likely making the cuts knowing that the end to formal support reduces much of the incentive to buy in, even if HP had instituted more moderate price drops. Its pricing likewise reflects an attempt to clear out overstock as fast as possible. With just 25,000 TouchPads sold at Best Buy, it's rumored to have about 245,000 unsold tablets at the one retail chain alone that prompted a near-mutiny as the store refused to pay for unsold inventory.
At $99, the TouchPad has the dubious distinction of receiving some of the fastest and steepest discounts in technology history. It started at an iPad-like $500 but saw a sale price of $450, then a permanent drop to $400, and finally the new $100 price, all within the space of about seven weeks.