Joe Desposito's Blog

Tablet Wars Claim First Victim: HP TouchPad

Just released and now apparently killed off by Hewlett-Packard, the TouchPad tablet, which sports its own OS, has become a victim of a tablet war that is clearly heating up as we head into the holiday selling season. Apple, of course, owns the tablet space with its iPad and iPad 2. But as Apple has always done, it demands a premium price for its wares. In this case, however, its premium price seemed to coincide--at least until last week--with the prices of most of the other tablets on the market.

As I was leafing through the ads for tablet computers last Sunday, I noticed that there was a crack in the pricing wall of Apple's competitors. Most retailers were selling the HP TouchPad for $50 lower than its debut price. But the price that startled me the most was that of the Acer Iconia A500 tablet selling at Target stores. This tablet was already undercutting the pricing of competitors at $399 for a 16 GB model with the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS. Target was then sweetening the pie by adding a $100 Target gift card to the mix. So, essentially, this high-end tablet was selling for $299. I went out and bought one the next day.

Back to HP, head honcho Leo Apotheker, indicated yesterday that HP was considering spinning off its personal computer unit into a separate company and would ditch its Pre smartphones and other webOS products. Keep in mind that this OS was acquired just last year when HP bought Palm for $1.2 Billion. Ouch!   

As I mentioned in a segment on Engineering Radio (Episode 20), though late to market with its tablet, HP was sparing no expense in promoting their new baby. HP had lined up several Hollywood stars and other notables as pitchmen. And speaking of pitching, HP was advertising heavily during New York Yankees baseball games (I don't know if they were doing this in other Major League Baseball markets).

With HP now out of the tablet game, it will be very interesting to see how other tablet competitors fare against Apple in the coming months.

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