$99 TouchPad too good to pass up

I don't recommend buying obsolete technology no longer supported by the vendor, but a $99 TouchPad is a steal

News is spreading quickly online that HP is going to clear out the vast TouchPad inventory by dropping the price to an offer you can't refuse. Rumor has it that beginning tomorrow the 16Gb TouchPad will be $99, and the 32Gb TouchPad will be a measly $149.

If you asked me three weeks ago about a TouchPad, I would have said you should absolutely not get one. For the same money you could get an iPad 2 which is a vastly superior tablet.

One of the problems that HP and other tablet rivals have is that they think its enough to beat the iPad on paper with hardware specs, then match Apple's pricing, but the reality is that the iPad 2 is a much better experience so that strategy doesn't cut it.

HP learned that lesson the hard way, and quickly pulled the plug on its tablet--and its entire WebOS mobile ecosystem for that matter. Truth be told, for HP to go so quickly from grandiose claims of changing the tablet landscape to shutting down the whole operation really just illustrates that HP never had a solid tablet or mobile strategy and that it was really just looking for an excuse to get out.

Even when HP started slashing prices and the TouchPad was supposedly selling for $300 at Staples a couple weeks ago, it was still questionable. Now that HP pulled the plug entirely on WebOS and the TouchPad, you'd have to be crazy to get one, right?

Well, no. Not really. It is actually a fairly capable tablet. It's just not an iPad 2. Starting this weekend, HP is supposed to fire sale the remaining inventory at $99. For $500 it was a joke. For $300 it was still a shady deal. For $99 it's a steal.

Two Canadian sites--Best Buy Canada and Future Shop--already have the TouchPad listed online for $99. BestBuy.com in the United States still has it listed at full price and currently claims to have zero in stock and that my neighborhood store also supposedly has no inventory.

However, that is not true. I assume they are just prepping the website for the bargain pricing to go into effect. The reality is that my Best Buy is swimming in unsold HP TouchPad inventory.

I went out tonight and picked mine up at the regular $400 price to beat the rush. Situations like this are why they invented price matching. I can just go back with my receipt once the fire sale starts and get the price adjusted and the difference refunded.

I don't expect it to replace my iPad 2, but for $99 it is a deal that is simply too good to pass up.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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