What’s going on with the HP TouchPad?

So, most likely, you’ve heard by now that HP announced on Thursday that they are discontinuing all of their webOS hardware. (I’m gonna single-source most of this, simply because it’s easier, and I generally like This Is My Next’s reporting. They link to their sources, so…)

Friday, reports began coming in that the TouchPad was being fire-saled at $99 and $149. At this price, they’re already sold out almost everywhere… except they keep popping back up in stock. And, HP’s site has a notifier for when they come back in stock – and it’s clearly aware of the fire sale.

What’s going on here?

So, when I heard that HP was discontinuing their webOS hardware, I first thought that webOS was doomed – after all, if the hardware was discontinued, nobody will want to touch the ecosystem, even any potential licensees (which HP has claimed they’re trying to do).

But, I think this is something different entirely.

I think one of two things has happened:

  1. HP was lying about discontinuing their webOS hardware. What’s interesting is that they’re coming back in and out of stock, here. Why would that be, if the hardware isn’t being made any more? And, they just updated things the day before shitcanning all of their hardware to say that the TouchPad 4G was coming out
  2. HP already has a licensee lined up.

If they’re lying about discontinuing their webOS hardware, this was one hell of a way to build a huge install base quickly – and now developers can’t say “nobody has webOS devices”. The fact that a product that HP is taking a massive loss on is being “found in warehouses” tells me this might be the case.

If they already have a licensee lined up, they need to keep the platform alive until that licensee is churning out hardware. So, the same strategy works – loss-leader TouchPads for everyone!

Only time will tell what’s actually right, though…

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