HP resurrects TouchPad to keep pace with fire-sale demand

The TouchPad isn't dead yet.

Hewlett-Packard confirmed it will "produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand." In a blog post, HP said that it does not know "exactly when these units will be available or how many we'll get, and we can't promise we'll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase."

HP announced Aug. 18 that it will discontinue support for its webOS device business. Shortly after, HP cut the price of the TouchPad from $399 to $99 for the 16 GB version and from $499 to $149 for the 32 GB model. HP was subsequently flooded with demand for the tablet. It costs HP $306 to make the 16 GB model, according to an estimate from IHS iSuppli.

In the blog posting, HP said it will build a limited quantity of TouchPads during its fourth fiscal quarter 2011, which ends Oct. 31, but said it remains committed to winding down its webOS device operations. The company said that each retailer selling the TouchPad will manage its own policy and process regarding pricing and price matching.

Interestingly, HP tablets could continue in some form. HP is working to either sell or spin off its Personal Systems Group, which builds computers and housed the company's webOS smartphone and tablet businesses. In an interview with Reuters, PSG chief Todd Bradley said he intends to lead any standalone company created, and that tablets could still be a part of that company's plans.

"Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely," he said, without elaborating. He said a spinoff of the PSG will bring the "best value" to HP shareholders.

For more:
- see this HP blog post
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article

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