Just over the weekend, HP unceremoniously dumped the operating system and tablet, telling retailers to rid of their inventory at a fire sale $99.99 pricetag. As news hit the wires (and websites and blogs), savvy shoppers jumped at the opportunity to pick up a full featured tablet at a fraction of market price. Read our live journal from Saturday morning as we tried to get our hands on a cheap TouchPad - were we successful? Find out!
It wasn't long ago that HP had everyone all excited about its webOS and TouchPad. Released barely a month ago, the TouchPad crashed and burned, with hardly any sales and support for the operating system. So imagine everyone's surprise when HP announced they were pulling the TouchPad and ridding their inventory with a fire sale $99.99 pricetag. As news hit the wires (and websites and blogs), savvy shoppers jumped at the opportunity to pick up a full featured tablet at a fraction of market price.
Having woke up at 8am this past Saturday morning and reading the news as it had just hit the web, we eagerly decided to try our luck in getting our hands on a TouchPad (or 4). Being on the east coast and fairly early in the morning, we thought we might have a chance. Here's how the morning went for me...
8:00am: Woke up and checked out a few of my daily blogs. Read the HP news and thought I'd buy one at that price.
8:15am: Got out of bed, got dressed, brushed my teeth, and headed to the computer to check where I might find a TouchPad at $99.99. I was headed to Shendoah Park to hike Old Rag Mountain with my girlfriend, leaving at 9am, so my time was limited, and my girlfriend was pressuring me to get ready to go instead of playing on the computer.
8:30am: Many websites still showed the original $399-$499 pricing. Best Buy still showed the full price. The articles I read said to try Walmart but mileage varied on whether the stores would honor the online pricing. The online pricing said $99.99 but most stores showed out of stock inventory. The website showed one store that would be on the way to my morning destination as having it stock. Calling in they transferred me to a manager who very strongly and rudely said they would not be matching the website's pricing. Reading from other buyer experiences this seemed par for the course.
8:45am: I was in trouble with the girlfriend now, and had to rush to get things packed in the car for our 9:00am departure.
9:15am: Packed and on the road, I was making calls left and right on two phones and searching the web at the same time. Walmart's website kept showing more and more stores coming up with out of stock notices, implying *someone was getting them at $99.99, just not me.
9:30am: Staples showed the TouchPad at $99.99 on their website but out of stock online. Every store I called within our travel route was out of stock.
9:45am: Office Depot listed the 16GB TouchPad at slightly more expensive at $130 but it was worth a shot trying. Every Office Depot along our route also was out of stock.
10:00am: The Micro Center by my house opened at 10 and while I was already past it I figured I could get someone to pick it up for me. When I called at 10 the guy picked up the phone and answered, "Welcome to Micro Center, we don't have the HP Touchpad, how can I help you?" I was doomed without saying a word.
10:15am: Calling around to more stores and searching online, I came up empty. My girlfriend was giving me evil death stares and I figured it was time to pack it in. No HP TouchPad for me at $99.99. Checking out Craigslist later in the day I found it was already flooded with both buyers and sellers. Buyers seemed to be offering $150 for the 16GB TouchPad (sold for $99.99) and sellers were asking for $200-$300. Checking in on Craigslist and eBay this afternoon, prices are already plummeting as more inventory hit the web from those who found them in stock. We're curious where the pricing gap will be bridged, and we're guessing a $150 price point will be fair if there's no more official inventory at retail outlets. At $150 I still might pick one up though, we'll have to wait and see!
And You?: So were you able to get one at $99.99? Will you buy one from a profiteer at $150? $200? More? Let us know if you got one and share your experience!
Additional Resources for Those Seeking An HP TouchPad
More on the HP TouchPad from Unplggd