Discounts on Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad are cropping up this week like mushrooms after a spring rain shower, and savvy shoppers can score the 16GB version of the tablet this weekend for $299 -- or $200 less than the comparable Apple iPad.
HP is offering $100 off its 16GB and 32GB WebOS TouchPad tablets in a limited promotional offer that's good through Aug. 7. And, as first spied by the blog WebOS Roundup, Fatwallet.com has a $100 Staples coupon that brings the total discount to $200.
CRN contacted three San Francisco Bay Area Staples stores Friday and all confirmed that customers can use both the HP and FatWallet.com TouchPad discounts, and a representative from one Staples location said "many customers" have been taking advantage of the opportunity on Friday.
By this point it's clear that HP is re-evaluating its decision to initially price the TouchPad at a level identical to the 16GB and 32GB Apple iPads. The HP TouchPad has been on sale for just over a month, and reviewers have praised certain aspects of it, but the typically sluggish summer technology buying season, combined with a preponderance of lower price tablets from competitors, have apparently put a crimp on TouchPad sales.
Stephen DeWitt, head of HPs' new WebOS business unit, points to another reason for the discounts: HP's desire to build a TouchPad user base of sufficient size to make WebOS an attractive target for developers.
"It's about building new relations thru WebOS. $100 off a HP TouchPad is a great deal. We are in this for the long haul!" Dewitt tweeted on Friday in response to media coverage of the TouchPad discounts.
Woot.com is currently selling the 16GB HP TouchPad for $379. HP couldn't be reached for comment on its rationale for the TouchPad discounts and whether retailers will be free to institute additional price cuts as they see fit.
However, further cuts appear unlikely given that the total bill of materials (BOM) for the 32-GB HP TouchPad is $318.15, while the BOM for the 16GB model is $296.15, which includes components, manufacturing costs, and packaging costs, according to analyst firm IHS iSuppli.
In March, IHS iSuppli calculated a total BOM of $336.60 for the GSM/HSPA version of the 32-GB Apple iPad 2, and $333.25 for the CDMA version.