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HP TouchPad sells out after price drops to $99

The company says the TouchPad will be available online again once already-manufactured supplies arrive. But no more of the tablets will be made.

August 23, 2011|By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times
  • HP's decision to stop making the TouchPad and drop the price for existing inventory to $99 sparked a fire sale. They quickly sold out in stores and online.
HP's decision to stop making the TouchPad and drop the price for existing… (David Paul Morris, Bloomberg )

Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad is finally enjoying a sales boom. All it took to move the previously slow-selling tablet was the company's decision to stop making it and hold a fire sale.

The TouchPad's dramatic price drop from $499.99 to $99 over the weekend immediately led to a buying frenzy and resulted in "sold out" signs both online and at retail stores.

On Monday, HP said it would replenish supplies of the now hot-selling tablet in its online store until inventory runs out. Once it's gone, it'll be gone forever, said HP spokeswoman Bryna Corcoran.

"Regarding 'next batch' coming in … it's called a warehouse," Corcoran said in a tweet. "No more being made, but have inventory coming from ones already manufactured."

Corcoran said she didn't know how many TouchPads were on the way or when they'd arrive, but HP is still taking orders for the TouchPad online, at $99.99 for a 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi model or $149.99 for a 32-gigabyte Wi-Fi unit.

Those who ordered a TouchPad from HP online were placed on a wait list and aren't guaranteed to get a device; orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, she said. HP also set up a Web page where consumers can sign up to get an email alert when the TouchPads go on sale again.

"All this clamoring for the TouchPad, kind of bittersweet," Corcoran said in another tweet.

HP last week announced that it was halting production of its tablet and killing off its line of smartphones. Both the TouchPad and HP's phones run the WebOS operating system, which HP acquired in a $1.2-billion purchase of mobile phone maker Palm last year.

HP has said that although it is giving up on making WebOS hardware itself, it hopes to license WebOS to other hardware makers. Last week, that move sounded far-fetched given that HP's WebOS products weren't selling. But with the weekend sellouts of the TouchPad tablets, WebOS' user base has grown by at least a few hundred thousand, which could help the operating system live on a little longer.

The company also said it was getting out of the personal computer business. But on Monday it announced a new all-in-one desktop called the HP Compaq 8200 Elite that starts at $999.99 and is aimed at business users. HP said the desktop was already in the works before the decision was made to get out of the PC business.

HP's stock took a 20% dive last week on the news of its plan to cancel its WebOS hardware and possibly end its run as the world's largest PC maker. On Monday afternoon, before the close of the market, HP stock was up about 3%, to about $24.46 a share.

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