The $99 HP TouchPad is coming back for an encore, according to the company’s PR manager Mark Budgell.
After HP killed the product line and sold off its leftover stock in a firesale, the TouchPad suddenly became a coveted item. In response to the demand, HP announced Tuesday that it would produce one last run of the tablet and said that it is considering bring the gadget back at some point in the future.
“Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely," Personal Systems Group head Todd Bradley told Reuters.
Budgell said that a limited number of TouchPads will be available soon for $99, and that the company will manufacture the tablets through the end of the quarter, Oct. 31. For updates, users can follow Budgell (@MarkatHP) or his colleague Bryna Corcoran (@BrynaatHP) for the latest TouchPad news.
“A limited supply are coming and it will be a few weeks before they are available,” Budgell wrote on HP’s Web site. “As we know more about how, when, and where TouchPads will be available, we will communicate that here and through email to those who requested notification. We can tell you that HP’s Small and Medium Business team has sold out of HP TouchPads and will not have more inventory.”
The future of the TouchPad, of course, is also dependent on the fate of the personal systems group which faces an uncertain future as HP looks to spin it off or sell it to another company. Bradley says he prefers a spin-off, adding that HP would still be the world’s largest PC manufacturer if the personal systems group was a stand-alone entity.
If HP does create a standalone PC business and revives its tablet, it should keep the lessons it learned from its firesale in mind. The $99 price point proved to be the way to reach a market that was formerly cool on the TouchPad.
If HP can find a way to recreate those prices and still deliver a solid tablet, then it will thrive. If not, it’ll see another encore — one of the TouchPad’s failure.
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