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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

After HP abandons webOS, TouchPad tablet prices sliced to as low as $99

20

August

screen_shot_2011-08-20_at_9.39.51_pm.pngSo you may have heard that Hewlett Packard (HP) announced two days ago that they will discontinue operations for webOS devices, including their flagship TouchPad tablet. This came right on the heels of multiple reports saying Best Buy was unhappily sitting on some 250,000 unsold TouchPads and wanted to return them to HP. Here is an excerpt from the HP press release:

"HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."

Late Friday night I started seeing Twitter traffic about TouchPads for $99 on Amazon.com. True enough, the 16GB model was there for $99 and the 16GB for $149, but they were already sold out. Several hours and many tweets later, I had seen TouchPads listed for sale at those prices at Office Depot, Walmart, OfficeMax, Target, Best Buy, the HP site and a few others but no one had them in stock.

Staples showed some stock but still had the prices listed at $399 and $499. So I purchased a 32GB model from Staples with in-store delivery and it is due to arrive on Tuesday. On a whim this morning I called my local Staples and they had one 32GB model in stock. The salesperson agreed to hold it for me and I had planned to buy it and pay full price, then do a price match later. Much to my surprise, when I went to the register it rang up for $149.

All day today it was a feeding frenzy with people all over the country trying to snap up TouchPads. Oh, the irony of it. The TouchPad was the tablet no one wanted and now it's the one everyone (at least the geeks) wants. Why? Because for $99 it's a capable piece of web-based hardware even if you end up not being able to get apps for it anymore. It's an iPad wannabe's dream...a 9.7-inch tablet for $99. Just having it around to surf the web, Facebook and check your mail makes it worth one Benjamin.

There also have been reports that HP is issuing refunds to people who a TouchPad at the previous prices of $399 and $499 and Best Buy has extended their return policy on the TouchPad and accessories to 60 days.

screen_shot_2011-08-20_at_9.25.18_pm.jpg

Along with all the Twitter reports of people looking for these tablets are three times as many reports from people who can't find one. But don't despair! Trying to buy one online is pretty much a losing proposition at this point but keep checking your local Office Depot, Staples, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target and the like. The word on the street is that more are on the way and they will be sold in stores at $99 and $149 until they're gone.

And if you get one, get it online and download all the apps you think you'll want because there's no telling how long they'll continue to be available. Keep in mind too that you won't be getting any software updates in the future because HP pulled the plug, so what you see is what you get. I know that's not going to stop all you gadgeteers out there so I expect to hear about your triumphs in the TouchPad hunt!

[Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2011 9:47pm]

    

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