As they say, money talks, and what happened after HP announced the impending death of the TouchPad? They sold out. Everywhere.
Obviously part of that was the suddenly deeply-discounted price. But there’s more to the story. Many gleeful geeks looked at the potential of the TouchPad to run Android software (after hacking, of course) and what better device to play with than one you only spent a C-note on, right? Most of us aren’t going to hack or otherwise possibly render useless a $400 or $500 device. But we might just play around with a hundred dollar device. Much less risk.
In fact, some hacker groups have offered a reward to whoever can create the best hack to allow an Android system on the TouchPad, giving even more incentive to those holding them.
HP did not fail to notice the sudden sale of all of their remaining devices through retailers and online sources like eBay. Twitter messages and blogposts from HP spokesperson Mark Budgell are leading many to believe that HP may just offer more of the devices for sale in the near future. There is also the inference that more TouchPads may be manufactured to take advantage of the suddenly robust market for the device.
Which leads me to an interesting conclusion. The device itself was the one that had the potential to take a bit out of the iPad market, due to its functionality and features. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to sell well. I want to assume that this is because for the same price, one could buy an iPad. It’s like the iPod market several years back. I could buy a Sansa, Sony, or other MP3 player, but if I was going to spend the money, I was going to buy an iPod. In the tablet market, the same may very well be true.
Suddenly, however, with the devices selling under $200, they become cheap enough, with enough functionality, to appeal to a broader audience. And if they can be used with the Android operating system and the resultant Android marketplace full of apps… Well, we’re talking about a whole new ballgame.
Can the low price stand, if HP gets back into the tablet-manufacturing business? Time will tell.