Thursday, September 8, 2011

Question is, will TouchPads be alive had it been cheaper?

Tech junkies got the shock of their life when Hewlett-Packard dropped the bombshell by announcing the demise of the HP TouchPad and also the WebOS platform.

Only a few weeks after the announcement of the WebOS-based tablet, HP immediately killed the fire and announced that they will no longer manufacture the HP TouchPad in the 4th quarter, since it still couldn’t drive demand even after the tablet’s price was cut three times in the course of a week.

Admittedly, people today are still looking for less expensive tablet computers. In fact, there is a huge demand for it even on this era when Apple’s iPad reigns supreme.

Case in point is the fire sale of HP, Amazon, and Best Buy where TouchPad’s price was lowered from $399 to $99. Surprisingly, stocks ran out fast even if there will no longer be full support on the said tablet and its OS.

The question now lingers – Had HP put the price lower, will the TouchPad still be around?

HP certainly cannot spend $306 (bill of materials and manufacturing costs combined for the 16GB variant) and then sell it for only $100. But they can definitely build a great tablet computer with capacitive touch screen running on a decent hardware for less than $200.

How? Perhaps by getting half the price of touch screens they currently use. In addition, HP can also spend less on memory since there’s already the Cloud storage technology, which they widely use on their printer fleet.

At present, there are already a number of developers programming useful applications for WebOS. If HP had made the prices significantly lower than what they used to sell it, I’m definite that they can sell millions of tablets. As such, a very robust developer network would prosper around WebOS.

The WebOS had a lot of potential and could have been a major player in the mobile field. However, HP seemed to have pulled the plug very early and gave up the game without putting much effort on the fight.

Now that it’s the end for the HP TouchPad, the tablet market is really just the iPad market. Android, Windows, and BlackBerry may seem to still run the race, but no one has come close to what Apple has achieved.

Will it forever be Apple’s kingship over all tablet computers? Which brand will take its place as number one? The future begins today.

This article is my thirtieth contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of the Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on August 29, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.


I think it would have. I think the only way tablet makers can win over the iPad would bea significantly lower cost device. Similar to the netbook craze a couple of years back.

I'm just so sad that HP had to let go of the TouchPad that soon. 

Post a Comment

Don't choose Anonymous! Indicate your name or alias please.