Wow, it’s been quite a ride for the HP TouchPad.
Launched July 1, the HP TouchPad has become the poster child of the topsy-turvy tablet market. Originally priced at $499 (16GB version), and $599 (32GB version), the TouchPad was positioned to compete with Apple’s iPad. But consumers didn’t buy it, literally. Just six and a half weeks later, HP panicked, threw in the towel, and discontinued the tablet. They held a firesale on all remaining models.
Firesale priced at $99 (16GB) and $149 (32GB) – the popularity of the TouchPad took off! Online stores were sold out within hours. Store shelves were cleared of the tablet soon after they opened the next morning.
HP sold out of TouchPads, but they had another manufacturing run in the pipeline. Once completed, those TouchPads showed up at retailers at the firesale pricing – but with a catch. In most cases, the shopper could only get the firesale price if they bought another full priced computer or laptop at the same time.
But now it looks like shoppers might get another crack at the firesale pricing without having to buy a second computer. According to a recently leaked internal letter to HP employees and published at TechCrunch, the HP TouchPad is about to hit HP’s eBay store. They’ll be sold at the firesale pricing, and no additional purchase will be required.
According to the leaked letter, the Touchpads will go online at eBay this Sunday, December 11, at 6:00 PM Central Time, which would be 7 PM Eastern Time, 4 PM Pacific. The letter said that HP employees would have a short time to order TouchPads themselves before the availability on eBay is announced to the public on Monday morning. Of course, that plan is messed up now. It’s unknown at this point what affect the publication of the letter will have on HP’s plans.
The letter states that the Touchpad will be available at http://stores.ebay.com/hewlettpackard under “laptops”. Both versions will be available while supplies last. An optional three piece bundle that includes a case, charging dock and wireless keyboard will be available for $79. Payments will be through PayPal. The units available will be refurbished models, and there is a limit of two per eBay member.
Once the TouchPads become available, they are expected to go quick.
While some sites are reporting that this will be the final chapter of the HP TouchPad story, don’t count on it. Several teams are working on porting Android OS over to the TouchPad, which comes with WebOS installed. With a fresh batch of TouchPad users, theses teams will be even more motivated to getting a stable Android port completed. And when that’s done, we’ll be reporting on it here!