updated 02:55 pm EDT, Sat August 20, 2011
HP TouchPad clears out at high speed
HP's decision to slash the TouchPad to $100 has triggered the biggest rush on webOS devices since the Palm Pre launched two years ago, according to reports. In those US and Canadian stores still selling the TouchPad, several checks by Electronista readers and further investigations on social networks has found many stores already having sold out of their stock. HP's own store already lists it as out of stock, although whether that's permanent or temporary is still unclear.
Best Buy US stores, likely reflecting its management's anger at overstock problems, has withdrawn the TouchPad entirely from its online store; a search no longer shows the product.
The actual sales figures are likely to never be reported. Pre-discount numbers weren't reported during HP's quarterly results other than its plans to exit webOS hardware, and the company may not sell enough for them to be a material factor in the current quarter. The earlier Best Buy leak had pointed to just 25,000 TouchPads having sold at the store, a figure HP didn't contest, and about 245,000 sitting unsold.
HP has also been accommodating those who bought at higher prices than the current discounts. Return periods have been extended to 60 days, and those that bought above $100 (16GB) or $150 (32GB) can usually contact HP or a store to get either the return or a price offset, including some of the tax in some cases.
Simultaneously, the TouchPad may become a cheap Android tablet through unofficial methods. CyanogenMod contributor Erik Hardesty said on Twitter Saturday afternoon that he planned to work on a version of the custom Android firmware for HP's tablet. He anticipated making a build based most likely on the Android 2.3 version available through the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) rather than Android 3, also known as Honeycomb.
Without having formally begun on the project, Hardesty didn't have a timetable. He stressed, however, that this didn't mean giving up on CyanogenMod for the Nook Color, his normal project.