Best Buy may offer heavily discounted Hewlett-Packard TouchPads in the coming weeks because the big box retailer is rumored to be having a hard time unloading its stock of WebOS tablets. Best Buy has reportedly sold just 25,000 TouchPads after ordering 270,000 to sell in its big box stores across the United States. Making matters worse, Best Buy isn't confident it can sell through its stock and wants HP to take back the retailer's TouchPad inventory, according to AllThingsD.
That's bad news for HP, but it also means the computer manufacturer may try to strike a deal to keep the TouchPad on Best Buy's shelves. That could mean we'll see some HP laptop/tablet bundle deals as the back-to-school buying season revs up, AllThingsD says.
HP's first foray into tablets (also known as the iPad market) has been met with lackluster success. Most reviewers dinged the WebOS tablet for its slow responsiveness, buggy software and sparse app catalog. PCWorld gave the TouchPad 2.5 out of 5 stars, chiefly complaining about the device's slow performance. Things didn't get much better in early August after HP released its first major firmware update for the TouchPad. "Our testing found that it [the TouchPad firmware update] doesn't do much to improve upon the TouchPad's lousy performance," PCWorld's Melissa J. Perenson said.
TouchPad price plummet
Beyond the bad reviews, the TouchPad has received a string of price cuts beginning just weeks after the device's July 1 launch date. By July 30, HP knocked $50 off the cost of both TouchPad models, originally set to mirror the iPad's pricing. HP's cut pulled TouchPad prices down to $449 (16GB) and $549 (32GB). By early August, smart shoppers could find TouchPads for about $100 cheaper.Then last Thursday, HP permanently slashed the TouchPad's price tags to $399 and $499 respectively.
Given how quickly the TouchPad's prices have fallen, it's a pretty good bet that HP is having a hard time convincing tablet buyers to forgo the iPad for HP's WebOS slate. So the rumors about Best Buy's dissatisfaction sound plausible, and we should have a better idea of what's going on with the TouchPad in the coming days.
HP faces the music
On Thursday, HP will release its first quarterly earnings report since the TouchPad launched, an event that may shed some light on sales figures for the device. And AllThingsD says an HP executive has been dispatched to Best Buy's Minneapolis headquarters to discuss the TouchPad dilemma. It's unclear what may come of that meeting, but there could be some serious TouchPad deals headed your way.
The question is will consumers be willing to shell out money for a TouchPad at this point, no matter what the price?