Hewlett Packard is offering $100 off its 16GB and 32GB WebOS TouchPad tablets in a limited promotional offer that will run over the weekend from Aug. 5 to Aug. 7.
HP earlier this week introduced a $50 instant discount on TouchPad sales that will be valid through Sept. 10. The discounts, which come just over a month after the HP TouchPad launch, support early reports from channel partners that sales of the WebOS tablet aren't proceeding as well as they'd hoped.
"The amount we've sold sadly isn't near expectations," one HP partner told CRN on Thursday.
However, the partner is confident that the $100 price cut will make the HP TouchPad more appealing to customers. "All we need now are applications and the TouchPad will start selling," said the source, who requested anonymity.
At $499 for the 16GB model and $599 for the 32GB model, HP initially priced the TouchPad at an identical level to Apple's iPad, a product that Apple is selling as fast as it can make. But while the $100 discount expires Sunday, it's difficult to imagine HP re-instating its original pricing levels for the TouchPad once the $50 promotion expires next month.
HP is in the midst of a concerted push to get partners on board with building enterprise mobility solutions around the HP TouchPad, and it's also urging VARs to get into WebOS application development. In light of the longer term strategic advantage that WebOS critical mass would give HP, partners say it's understandable that HP would cut the TouchPad's price to spur sales.
"Getting the Touchpad into more people’s hands would generate more development for WebOS," said Paul Shiff, vice president at Hub Technical Services, a South Easton, Mass.-based solution provider.
Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at of D&H Distributing Co., says HP is working against a headwind of market forces in its efforts to drum up customer interest in the TouchPad. Summer is traditionally a relatively tough time to launch a new product, and HP must also contend with tablet rivals such as Acer, which cut the price of its Iconia A500 from $450 to $399 two weeks after HP's TouchPad launch.
"HP TouchPad is a fantastic product, and some of its features are actually the best of any tablet on the market," said Davis. "But it’s also a very new product, and as a result HP is having to work very hard to get its message out."
Apple and Android tablet makers also had a large installed base of smartphones that greased the skids for application development for tablets, a luxury that HP doesn't enjoy with the TouchPad, according to Davis.