$99 HP TouchPad

by PrepaidWirelessGuy

Wow, an $99 HP TouchPad with a 1.2GHz dual core processor, 1Ghz of RAM, and 16GB of storage, as well as a bright 9.7” display that also supports Flash. Really, you can’t beat that! Now if only it had a rear facing camera and expandable storage, I would truly say that it’s the perfect tablet. Well, maybe not quite perfect, but that much better for sure. For me the perfect tablet would be this device is a more sexy body that also seamlessly supports Android apps.

WebOS truly is an amazing operating system, and it really didn’t deserve this fate. For those that don’t know, in August 2011, just seven weeks after its initial launch, HP (who just bought Palm a measly 17 months earlier for $1.2B!) announced the discontinuation of webOS phones and tablets. The price was dropped from the original $499 price point to $99 for a 16GB version, and $150 for a 32GB version (originally selling for $599).

Most experts and enthusiasts agree that webOS is the most usable mobile OS out there, with multitasking capabilities that Apple iOS will be playing catch-up on for years, and which is far superior to the truly messy Android OS. If the webOS fate was to be its death at HP, I would have preferred that Google had purchased Palm and integrated its best components into Android, or even integrated the better pieces of Android into webOS!

There’s a LOT of commentary of what has truly become an historic event. I won’t repeat that as the spirit of this site is to always remain original and unique, and the typical commentary has beaten the subject to death. What I will say is what I hope (and feel) the outcome of this fire sale (i.e. reasonably large user base compared to its previous trajectory), which is that a lot of people who otherwise would never have purchased a webOS tablet, now truly understand its greatness. They should be having “ah hah” moments around how simple it is to use, and how much more fluid the experience is than Android, and even iOS. It really is remarkable. Sadly, unless webOS is resurrected somehow (and I suspect it will in some flavor over time), people will come to understand that losing this OS is a loss for the mobile industry, and for consumers in general.

I’d love to hear from iPad fans who now have an HP TouchPad, and who can offer a truly unbiased opinion (i.e. not setting out with the mindset that nothing can be better in any way than an iPad
;-). If only HP, and Palm before it, could have marketed it meaningfully and price it appropriately, more people would have come to realize that webOS can offer a lot, and that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of apps to make a tablet worth buying (and spending more than $99 on!). FYI, the manufacturing cost is a little over $300.

I feel that I was extremely lucky, because although I missed the initial price decrease announcement, and the fire sale that occurred the weekend that followed the announcement, I was able to get one! I casually monitored the forums for a couple of days, and didn’t even have to spend countless hours researching). On the Tuesday following the weekend fire sales (i.e. “long” after every store was out of stock), I read that a Best Buy near my home was getting a shipment in on the next day (Wednesday). I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to spend time going there on the off chance the rumor was correct, and that I’d actually get one.

I decided to take my chances. I went at 8am and waited until the store opened at 10am. About 24 people showed up. I was the first in line (there was actually a guy there before me, however, he was sleeping in his car from 6am until shortly after I arrived). We didn’t know until about 9:30am that they actually did have them in stock, however, they refused to tell us how many (obviously being first in line, I was guaranteed to get one at that point). Anyway, it was well worth the two hour wait. I still have the 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab, however, that’s really my toddler’s tablet. This one is for the household to use and enjoy.

It will be interesting to see what the ultimate fate of webOS will be in let’s say 5 years from now. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my purchase, and if it never gets another update, and ultimately dies a slow death in the mobile OS world, I’ll still appreciate its experience (and amazing price of course!). Maybe someday I’ll flash Android OS onto it, however, somehow I feel as though that would be a downgrade in general usability, despite the obvious gain in available applications.

While the $99 HP TouchPad price point is truly a sad thing to see in terms of its indication of a dying OS, as is the case for most people, I love a great deal, and this is certainly an amazing gadget for a technophile at that price!

Comments for $99 HP TouchPad

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Oct 04, 2011
New Touchpad Prices
by: Anonymous

I'm sure you already know, but as of last night HP is selling the 16GB model for $219.99 and the 32GB model for $249.99, though it already looks to be out of stock.

Big risk. If they're really trying to license or sell webOS, if it sells at this price, I suppose that could be a good thing, but if not, it will further show that people just wanted a $99 tablet and don't care about the hardware or OS. At just over $300 to make, it's still a good deal, but many people may just go for the Amazon Kindle Fire.

Sep 21, 2011
You're Lucky!
by: Dylan

Consider yourself VERY lucky that you got one. I'm jealous! I hate the thought of having to buy one at more than twice the price on eBay because of opportunistic scalpers.

Sep 13, 2011
webOS is Dead
by: James

Come on people. WebOS is as good as dead and will never amount to anything. Good, great, who cares, doesn't matter. This OS is going to linger and die amongst the mainstream population, and eventually everywhere else.

Sep 13, 2011
HTC to Purchase webOS
by: Luke

There's rumors about HTC buying their own mobile OS, which webOS being the obvious contender. At least they haven't publicly denied the possibility like Samsung did.

Really though, can they have any better luck? Even basic users who don't even use that many apps, just the idea of being able to use apps that their Android and iPhone friends are using could turn them off of webOS.

The best thing would be if HTC could add a Sense layer that allowed Android apps to run seamlessly. That would seem to give them a fighting chance!

Sep 12, 2011
webOS will never make it
by: Mike

I couldn't agree more that webOS is a great OS, and that industry experts and enthusiasts virtually all feel the same way. But even with the $99 HP TouchPad fire sale and a million user base, the market will just never be big enough to make inroads in any meaningful way that will keep webOS alive.

Yes, it's sad, but it's true. If HP couldn't make this work, it's doubtful that anyone else will want it. I'm sure all of the best features can be copied into Android OS and iOS over time without having to buy webOS or even pay for licenses. The BlackBerry Playbook already copied the card approach to multitasking.

The enthusiasm is certainly exciting, but I don't see it having any long term positive impact on the ability for webOS to survive, let alone thrive. In the meantime, anyone who can get a $99 TouchPad (more are supposed to be coming in Oct), consider yourself super lucky!

Sep 05, 2011
Does Tablet PC Industrial Design Really Matter?
by: Jake

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think that the look and feel of a tablet doesn't really matter. Yes, I agree that the HP TouchPad isn't as sexy of a design as the iPad, however, the interesting thing is that most people use a case, and cover up their tablet PC anyway. The overall build quality of the TouchPad is actually quite solid, and certainly doesn't feel cheap at all.

Yes, the standard iPad case only covers the top. I imagine that Apple designed that case to help promote the sleek design of the iPad being seen more. But not everyone uses that type of cover, and the HP TouchPad cases all cover the entire tablet. So, really, you're really looking at the screen and bezel only.

If you were to put both the iPad and TouchPad in the same designed full case, I expect that the actual industrial design wouldn't really matter. I suppose the point being that given similar hardware specs, how much would you really be willing to pay for a sleeker, sexier design?!

I agree that the apps aside, the HP TouchPad is actually more usable and capable than even the iPad. I'm sure Apple fan boys would disagree, but to each their own.

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