Hewlett-Packard has announced that due to high demand for massively discounted webOS-based TouchPad slates, it would produce a limited amount of devices and will sell them by October 31, 2011. The devices will continue to be sold for $99 or $149, but buyers should keep in mind that HP has scrapped further development of webOS.
"Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. We don’t know exactly when these units will be available or how many we’ll get, and we can’t promise we’ll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase," said Mark Budgell, a social media strategist on the HP PR team, in a blog post.
HP will be manufacturing a limited quantity of TouchPads with webOS during its fourth fiscal quarter 2011, which ends October 31. HP TouchPad 16GB version will be available for $99 and the 32GB flavour will cost $149. Neither of them are eligible for a return if malfunction or due to any issues.
HP is discontinuing the development of webOS devices and is winding down device operations within its fourth fiscal quarter 2011. Although it may make some sense to get a tablet for $99, one should understand that HP is axing webOS and therefore there will hardly be any software/firmware updates for the TouchPad tablets, the devices will not get any new features and all the drawbacks will remain intact.
It is a big question whether it is ethical for HP to sell obsolete hardware, but the company needs to show potential licensees that there is demand for non-Android and non-iOS tablets. Meanwhile, it is unclear which of the hardware or software companies may be interested in taking over webOS or even HP's Palm business.
HP TouchPad is based on Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 system-on-chip clocked at 1.20GHz that has two Scorpion application processing cores (ARM v7 instruction set, similar to Cortex-A8 design, but has significantly improved performance of SIMD operations), Adreno 220 graphics processing core, memory controller and so on. The device comes with 9.7" multi-touch screen with 1024*768 resolution, 1GB of random access memory, 16GB or 32GB of flash storage, front-facing 1.3MP webcam, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n controller, 3G or 4G module, Bluetooth support and so on. The TouchPad has 6300mAh battery and weighs 740 grams.