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HP TouchPad: One Woman’s Quest to Own the Discontinued Tablet

If you’ve checked in with technology trends at all in the past week, you’ve probably noticed the huge blow up surrounding the HP TouchPad. Within the span of just six weeks, this little tablet has gone from shiny, new toy, to discontinued, to every techie’s must-have.

What in the world has HP done to generate so much buzz? Let’s recap.

Background Information:

I own an iPod Touch and an iPhone. I love Apple products with touch screens. Actually, I love anything with a touch screen. I practically salivate over the thought of one day saving enough pennies to afford an iPad. And yes, it has a whole lot to do with Star Trek’s handheld PADDs.

Four Weeks Ago:

I saw commercials for the HP TouchPad featuring comedian Russell Brand and actress Lea Michele. The fact that Lea Michele was singing about it was enough to sell me on the tablet. Score one for HP’s marketing department.

I didn’t have the money for either model, but I decided to research it anyway. I was instantly drawn to the app “stacking” feature, dual core processor, and large screen. For once, I wanted a non-Apple handheld device.  But the fact that it was still just as expensive as an iPad kept me from doing anything more than want.

Two Weeks Ago:

HP announced that they would permanently cut the prices on their TouchPads by $100: a lower price than the iPad. But, I still don’t have $400 to spend on the 16GB model.

One Week Ago:

HP realizes that they haven’t sold that many TouchPads, and faster than you can say Polaroid, they decide that it’s time they discontinue their short-lived tablet. I kept hoping that HP would just keep clipping off $100 here and there and soon I’d be able to afford the 16GB version at around $200 or $250.

I mourned in my cubicle.

Last Weekend:

While I assumed that the HP TouchPad was dead and retailers would soon start peddling the unsold models for scrap, apparently HP had a different idea.  HP dropped their tablet prices to $99 for 16GB and $149 for 32GB and instantly started a craze that hasn’t been seen since the Tickle Me Elmo debacle of ’96.

Of course, I didn’t stumble onto this discovery until an hour or so after HP’s fire sale. Desperate to get my hands on one of these cheap tablets, I scoured the internet until I found that Newegg.com still had stock. I called their customer service line and was told that Newegg’s management was still deciding whether they would drop their prices or not. I spent the rest of my weekend reloading the product page on my iPhone browser.

This Week:

I made peace with the fact that an HP TouchPad would never be mine.  So to focus my lamenting, I decided to research the phenomenon for a blog about pricing or supply and demand.

I found that there were still retailers sitting on their stock: they hadn’t shipped it back to HP, but they hadn’t cut the price either. PC World had a few suggestions for where to look, but many sites said to just search #touchpad on Twitter.

The Twitter search worked and directed me to TigerDirect.com. I opened up the site in multiple browsers and desperately willed the product pages to load. After countless error messages, time outs, and all-out denials, I finally had an order process for a 32GB TouchPad.

I was excited, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The Twitter stream for #touchpad was full of disgruntled customers that received order confirmations from Barnes & Noble and UK retailers, only to find out 16 hours later that there wasn’t enough stock.

But then, the next morning, I awoke to the beautiful e-mail:

It shipped. It’s going to be mine. The long process of waiting, mourning, and refreshing is over.

But Mandy, now I need it!

For those of you still looking to get your hands on an HP TouchPad, I really wish that I had insider information. I’m well aware that my acquisition of the TouchPad is sheer and utter luck.  All I can offer is searching for #touchpad on Twitter and frequently checking on the official HP store.

HP claims to be releasing more tablets for sale this week. This is because many retailers decided to ship their stock back to HP for distribution instead of dealing with the fire sale hot mess themselves. And really, who could blame them?

What now for the TouchPad?

Some are calling for HP to continue manufacturing the tablet, saying that if they find the right price point, they could create actual competition with Apple; some are toasting to Apple’s continued success; and some couldn’t care less.

One thing’s for sure: consumers want access to low-cost, high-quality tablets. So once somebody figures out how to provide that, Apple might see some real rivalry on the tablet market. Well, not if they sue the competition first.

Did you get swept up in the HP TouchPad madness? Are you interested in owning a tablet? If so, are you considering anything but an iPad?

Image credit to Tom Raftery, via Wikimedia Commons.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

Comments

  1. JPorretto

    I’m going with a quote from some random guy on twitter:

    “This morning I had no idea what a touchpad was, now my life is incomplete
    without one.”

    That just about sums it up. Someday soon it will be mine… right after my back order of Tickle Me Elmo finally ships.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      HP’s site actually says “Coming soon” now, so it’s only a matter of time…

      • Amanda

        Jeff–that is one awesome quote you found!
        Mandy–this is one awesome blog you wrote!

        It’s so crazy to me how quick these bombed out—if they would have started $100 or so cheaper than the Ipad, I think they would have had a chance. But at this price point, and if they work like they should–this sounds like a great purchase! I think I might want one…… ;-)

        • Mandy Kilinskis

          Even at $200/$250, the tablet probably could’ve been competitive. I know that not everyone would rush to own one at that price, but I probably would’ve – it’s still vastly cheaper than the iPad. And I love their app stacking feature instead of returning to the home screen every single time I want to switch applications.

  2. Bret Bonnet

    Congratulations on purchasing what is literally no more than a $100.00 touch screen alarm clock! :)

    With no further developer support or support from HP these things are basically a waste of space.

    I just feel sorry for the poor jokers who bought one of these for full price last month. Talk about frustrating!

  3. amy

    Excellent post Mandy! Reading it I could tell how much you wanted this TouchPad and how far you were willing to go to search. +1 for your awesome motivation!

    I like the idea of tablets and if someone would like to give me one, sure I’d be interested in owning it. However, I don’t like the price tag on a lot of them so it keeps my interest pretty low right now. I’ve been a little anti-Apple lately so I’m rooting for the underdogs on the tablet market!!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      My TouchPad and I are very happy. :)

      The price tag was honestly the only thing keeping me from a tablet – and after this fire sale, it’s clear that a whole bunch of other people felt the same way.

      Maybe in another year or so someone will release a nice tablet for a lower price tag.

  4. The Spoon

    iPad is king :)

  5. Vern-Matic

    I gotta agree w/Bret on this w/HP pretty much scraping a lot of their divisions including their tablet and as a person who knows the frustration from updating PC’s from Windows to Linux making sure that hardware works w/a different OS is frustrating. Finding out that others have the same problem, that no one is working on drivers for hardware. Sorry I will just wait for the Android tablets to drop in price. I will admit though I was salivating at the opportunity of owning one of the HP tablets, but my sour grapes came up w/this reasoning for me.

    “I didn’t want one anyway!!!” :’-|

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’ve been salivating over the opportunity to own any kind of tablet. So at that price, I couldn’t help myself. With HP supporting it for a year and the Android OS on the horizon, I can happily check my e-mail and surf the web until then.

  6. Vern-Matic

    And I have said it once I will say it again… Star Trek is set in the 24th century, why are they still using “pad” technology!?!?! >:-<

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      It’s the same debate as why there aren’t holodecks in the original series. Writers can only guess about how technology will develop that far into the future.

  7. Rachel

    Thanks for the timeline on this whole thing! I wonder where the right price point for the TouchPad is … clearly its original $500 price was too high, but $99 is too low, since they clearly can’t keep up with that kind of demand. If HP does decide to manufacture more of the TouchPads, I’ll be curious to see where they set the price for it.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      People are guesstimating about $200/$250. However, HP would still producing at a loss, so if they found a few ways to cut cost while keep the quality, they might have a second chance at the tablet game.

  8. Jen

    Mandy, this is a wonderfully triumphant story. I’m so glad everything worked out for you!

    I really wanted an iPad for like ummm 10 minutes or so, until I was told how much they were. I’m not willing to spend $500+ on a big iPod Touch. But I would totally buy an HP Touchpad for $99 or $149. I hope I can get one, but if I don’t it’s not a big deal. Something better is just around the corner :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Me too! Though I have some people I’m following on Google+ that said they managed to get their hands on four or five! What were they doing right to score so many?

      I hope that there will be a lot of competition of high-quality tablets to drive down the price. Otherwise, Apple will just dominate the tablet industry like the MP3 player industry. You could get a cheap MP3 player from someone else…but nobody does.

    • Amanda

      I see what you’re saying Jen, and I agree. I’ve also thought about buying a nice iPod and skipping the monthly fee of getting a smartphone–makes sense to me. I’ve heard most people love them!

  9. Ness

    I have an iPhone and honestly don’t see the point of having a tablet computer too…maybe I’m missing something?

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      For me, I wanted/enjoy a tablet because I wanted a bigger screen for reading e-mail, surfing the internet, etc. without buying a laptop.

      I love everything about my iPhone, but I do get sick of reading text-heavy webpages on the smaller screen.

  10. Joseph Giorgi

    I’ve suddenly become very, very, VERY tempted to hunt one of these down, Mandy. Way to be persuasive! ;)

    After reading the bazillion-or-so articles online about HP’s firesale, I’m admittedly intrigued. A $100-$150 tablet? Umm, yes please!

    The one thing that’s ultimately going to keep me from getting an HP Touchpad, however, is its impending lack of support. If it doesn’t have a solid and updated OS (beyond the TouchDroid app, I mean), then I just can’t see myself dropping the extra cash — even though I really, REALLY want to.

  11. Kyle

    Let me start off by saying, I have no desire for a tablet…

    But $150 for a 32GB TouchPad??? O_O

    Congrats on the find, Mandy. I do believe I am envious.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You’re not the only one to be swayed by the price tag, Kyle! Lots of people that never wanted to own a tablet before are suddenly finding themselves in a craze to get one!

  12. Bret Bonnet

    If anyone can score TWELVE of these; I’ll buy one for everyone on the 726 side of the office (at $100.00 ea.).

    :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Challenge accepted.

      • Amanda

        Whoa! I’ll also accept this search and find challenge! Bret is the man! Ok, Mandy the search is on!!!! =)

    • Jill Tooley

      Are you for realz? Because I think that would officially earn you the “World’s Best Boss” title! Forget about Michael Scott! ;)

      I think I’d crap with excitement if this actually happened!!!

  13. Jill Tooley

    Like so many other commenters, I was oblivious to the HP TouchPad until I heard everyone spazzing out about it. But, after getting the rundown from you and learning of your success in actually getting one, I’m anxious to get my hands on one as well! :)

    I’m intrigued by your mention of upgrading the tablet to Touchdroid OS. Would this mean it’s still supported in some way, or no? I’ve heard good things about droids and their operating systems…

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I, unfortunately, don’t have a specific answer for you, Jill. While WebOS’ future is still all up in the air, nobody has said much more about the Touchdroid OS than “WE ARE GONNA DO IT.” I think we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see what will happen with the different operating systems before we get specifics on support.

  14. Social Media Annoyances: Abuse of Twitter Hashtags

    [...] great for catching real-time news and reactions. The hashtag was invaluable to my acquisition of my HP Touchpad. The hashtags’ transition to trending topics helps see what the world is talking about – even [...]

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