HP to Make More TouchPads, Seriously

If you were hoping to be able to get a hold of a discontinued device that was considered outdated and buggy when it was first released and is powered by an operating system that may or may not be mothballed, we have some good news for you: HP is planning on making more TouchPads. That’s right, the company announced Tuesday that it will make more of the webOS devices it had to sell for less than half of what it cost to make.

Just Kidding!

“I finally have some solid news to share about TouchPad availability,” Mark Budgell, a Social Media Strategist on the HP PR team, wrote to whomever it is that actually cares. “Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand.”

Mr. Budgell thanked HP’s customers for their interest in the money-gobbling TouchPad, adding, “Since we announced the price drop, the number of inquiries about the product and the speed at which it disappeared from inventory has been stunning. I think it’s safe to say we were pleasantly surprised by the response.”

HP announced on August 18th that it was killing its webOS hardware business, a category that included the TouchPad tablet, as well as smartphones that were a continuation of Palm’s webOS smartphone business. The company also announced that it was looking for ways to leverage webOS (i.e. sell it or license it), but was shelving all product plans for the nonce.

At the time, the company had said it would be taking back its supply of TouchPads that had sat on store shelves for weeks with little and less customer interest. Best Buy, for instance, was reportedly demanding that HP do just that. On August 19th, however, HP decided to reduce the price of the TouchPad and sell the remaining inventory for US$99, less than half of the cost to make the device.

The result was that they flew off store shelves. Customers queued up to buy them at Best Buy, and HP’s online store was besieged with orders.

It would seem that the brilliant move of making more of the money-losing devices stems in part from upstream component suppliers being a tad tense about being stuck with all manner of inventory on unmade devices. DigiTimes reported that many of those suppliers were up in arms and looking to HP for a solution.

Rather than get zero dollars for a bunch of unused parts, it makes more sense to get some dollars for them in the form of completed TouchPads being sold, even at a loss.

HP has included a FAQ on the blog post making the announcement, if you count yourself among those who care.

While the decision to make more devices seems firmly rooted in a pragmatic solution for dealing with un-met component contracts, we found Brian Lam’s assessment of the situation to be hilarious enough to share it with you. He tweeted, “If HP revives the TouchPad because of sales at $99, they are mistaking break up sex for a proposal.”