As I am sure everyone knows by now HP killed off the TouchPad and all webOS related products last weekend and then decided to liquidate the TouchPad for just $99 for the 16GB model. Of course nobody is going to pass up a tablet, even a dead one, for that price so they sold out in a matter of minutes both online and in the brick and mortar stores. Now this was obviously HP trying to get rid of everything to get as much cash as possible because the cost of materials is over $300.
But lets take a step back. The TouchPad was not selling well at all at the release price point of $499/$599 (16GB/32GB) and therefore the ecosystem around the TouchPad and webOS didn’t grow like HP expected. It’s tough to come into a market already dominated by Apple and Google and expect to make a splash right away. But the HP exec’s decided, after just 7 weeks on the market, to pull the plug. The fact that the liquidation prices on the TouchPad made the device sell like hot cakes begs the question, why not follow the gaming console model to try and build a ecosystem?
Game console’s have always been sold at a loss because the manufactures get their money from royalties on game sales. If HP was committed to making a third major app ecosystem maybe they should have followed the same model. Think about this you walk into a store and see a tablet display with the sleek Apple iPad 2 at the price of $500 and the somewhat plain looking HP TouchPad for half the price. My guess is that just on that alone you would see a spike in sales which would end up pushing developers to the platform. Again this is all spitballing and we will never know if it would have worked.
But with the death of a platform comes all kind of exciting news. In this case it seems that software hacker’s now have a cheap piece of tablet hardware to play around with. There are a few project’s dedicated to getting Android running on the TouchPad hardware and if I manage to get my hands on a TouchPad I would be more then willing to try and help out.