Is HP’s tablet game dead in the water?

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In a recent move to attract customers, HP dropped the price point on the new TouchPad by $100 on each model. You can now get WebOS with 16GB of storage for $400, or the price of the Asus Transformer or the Acer Iconia Tab. By all accounts most people would say that’s a solid deal for a slate with a 9.7″ IPS display with WebOS 3.0. You might also think that most people would have really been excited to pick up the same tablet for $385 from Woot!, but you’d be mistaken.

It turns out the HP TouchPad sold like, well a cheap tablet that nobody’s interested in. 612 TouchPads were sold on Woot! that day. This number might not seem relevant until you compare it to the Motorola XOOM, which had its fare share of issues as well, which sold 2,288 XOOMs on Woot. That’s a HUGE difference. of course it’s only 1 piece of data, but I’m assuming HP sees the same numbers from their vendors considering the new price points.

WebOS has some excellent features, and it’s a solid OS. The TouchPad needed to come out with a bang when it was launched. It needed to be so good that everyone wanted the TouchPad and the new Pre. After all, one of the selling points for the TouchPad was the touch to share functionality between the two devices. It needed to capture the hearts and minds of the tech industry and pull the consumers away from their iPads.

Unfortunately nobody seems to care. The TouchPad landed with a thud. Consumers laughed at a tablet that felt cheap compared to the iPad and Honeycomb choices. Developers don’t develop for WebOS because there aren’t many TouchPad owners, and there aren’t many TouchPad owners because nobody wants to develop for WebOS. It’s a vicious cycle. Even their new flagship phone, the Pre 3, was announced over 6 months ago and there aren’t any signs it’s hitting carriers any time soon.

I’m calling it right now. HP and WebOS can’t hang in the same market that Apple, Android, Windows (next year), and even the PlayBook play in. It’s dead, done, stick a fork in it. The tablet market doesn’t care what HP has to offer. Clearly HP doesn’t either, as it looks like they aren’t even trying.

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Allen Schmidt

Allen is a former contributing editor at Nothing But Tablets, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.

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