In a somewhat ironic turn of events, the discontinued HP TouchPad has found its way back onto store shelves at Best Buy.
Starting Tuesday, customers that buy an HP or Compaq PC from Best Buy retail and Web stores will have the option of picking up a 32GB HP TouchPad for $149. Without a PC purchase, Best Buy is charging $599 for the HP TouchPad, the same price HP originally set before pulling the plug on the product on Aug. 18.
Just before HP killed the TouchPad, AllThingsD reported that Best Buy had taken delivery of 270,000 HP TouchPads but sold less than 10 percent of that figure. The retailer was also pushing HP to take back unsold TouchPads, according to AllThingsD.
Best Buy isn't saying how long the current offer will last, but in an FAQ, the retailer said quantities will be limited. "This is a spot buy of a limited release of TouchPads by HP. These units are first come, first serve and when they're gone, they're gone," according to the FAQ.
In the wake of its decision to explore a sale or spin-off of its Personal Systems Group, HP triggered a feeding frenzy by slashing the price of the 16-GB TouchPad to $99 and the 32-GB model to $149. Bargain hungry shoppers quickly exhausted supplies, and the TouchPad quickly became a hot commodity.
HP subsequently said it planned one more production run for the TouchPad, but last Friday the company said it has sold out, and that the product will only be available through retail partners. Hundreds of 32-GB TouchPads are currently listed for sale on eBay, with most sellers pricing theirs in the $250 range.
HP hasn't yet decided the fate of WebOS, and in last conference call to announce its decision to keep the Personal Systems Group, HP CEO Meg Whitman said she plans to make a long-term decision on WebOS within the "next couple of months."
However, Whitman also said HP is looking at ways to use WebOS in other parts of the company. "WebOS has obvious use in the PSG business, but also in other businesses we have, and so we have to make a more holistic decision on WebOS," she said last week.
HP currently sells a single Windows tablet -- the Windows 7 powered Slate 500 -- but Whitman suggested that more will be coming when Microsoft releases Windows 8.
"I think we need to be in the tablet business and will certainly be there with Windows 8. We're going to make another run at this business," Whitman said last week.