Following some pretty disappointing sales figures since its launch, HP reduced the price of its TouchPad by $100 last weekend in the hope that it would give the device a better chance against Apple’s hugely successful iPad. The reduction clearly did some good, because HP just announced the TouchPad will be permanently available at its lower price point: that’s $400 for a 16GB model and $500 for a 32GB model.
That’s a cool $100 less than the iPad 2 with the same storage options — even before third-party resellers have thrown in their own discounts — but will HP’s device be any more of a success? At the moment, I think there’s one thing holding it back. It’s not the design of the TouchPad — that’s actually pretty spot-on; and it’s not the UI, which is certainly a very nice alternative to Apple’s iOS; but it is a lack of software. When you buy an iPad, or even an Android tablet for that matter, you have instant access to a world of hundreds of thousands of apps and games. You don’t quite have the same selection when you adopt webOS with the HP TouchPad. And that’s because developers have no interest in creating software for a less than successful platform.
However, things could change. Everyone I speak to who uses a TouchPad, and the webOS platform in particular, really loves it. Even without the huge catalog of third-party software, the webOS platform seems to work incredibly well. With this $100 reduction — coupled with that software update that also dropped recently — the TouchPad could take off. Sure, it’s not going to take off like the iPad — so don’t rush out to buy one now in fear of a 6-week waiting list from tomorrow — but it could certainly do well.
One thing that may also boost sales is a little more enthusiasm from HP. Our own Noah Kravitz recently wrote an open letter to HP, which highlights what the company can do to make its webOS platform more successful. And I have to agree that with a little (okay, a lot!) more effort, webOS and the devices that support it could have a larger presence in the market, and could be a viable alternative to the iPad and popular Android tablets.
Do you think the $100 reduction will help HP’s TouchPad become more successful, or do you think it’s too late for the webOS platform to compete on a tablet?