Black Friday for HP Touchpads

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If you haven’t heard by now, HP has made plans to exit webOS devices like its touchpads as it tries to emulate IBM’s IT service model. They made the announcement this past Thursday after making news that they may spin off their PC division.

The HP Touchpads were seen as the company’s latest shot into the lucrative tablet wars brewing between heavyweights such as Samsung, Acer, and of course, Apple. The Touchpads went on sale roughly six weeks earlier – only to be unceremoniously discontinued.

The 16GB version had cost about $500, the 32GB version about $600. With the announcement, several vendors dropped the prices almost as early late Friday night to $99 and $150, respectively.

Stores across the internet were flooded with purchase orders thanks to posts on deal sites leading many to quickly run out of stock. Best Buy in Canada had the 16GB version listed online for $99 before it was wiped out. Other vendors, such as those on Amazon, haven’t quite participated in the frenzy yet listing the pads at close to their retail prices at the time of this article.

In the United States, there have also been reports that Best Buy and Office Max are among several chains that would be shipping all of their pads back. The store clerks at my local Best Buy had no idea what was going on. I showed up along with several other people to try and snag one until we were told that, after ratcheting things up to management to confirm the truth of what we were saying, they would be shipped back instead.

However, others have had better luck elsewhere at places such as Wal Mart. Online, sites such as HP’s own store to lesser known ones with an online presence were hit hard, often making it seem as if the store were actually broken. Ebay is already rife with hoarders flipping the ones that they had managed to snag at the new low prices.

It isn’t so much that this is an HP Touchpad that is driving people to it as it is the low price for a decent piece of hardware – hardware that can be made to do anything with the right software. A team is already tweeting that they’re working on porting Google’s Android OS over to the touchpad.

You might have a better chance at snagging a pad next week as HP starts receiving all of the stock that is being shipped back to them – they’re selling the devices at the discounted costs – though who knows? Someone might have forgotten to check that Wal Mart just down the street from you.