Too soon to call HP's TouchPad a failure? We'll see tonight

HP Touchpad

Unnamed sources from electronics retailer Best Buy have suggested this week that HP's TouchPad is not selling and that as few as 25,000 of the retailer's stock of 270,000 have sold. The mobile tablet was first available for pre-order on June 19, and it first hit retail on the first of July. It is the first non-phone device to be powered by WebOS, and it's already being called a flop.

The time between July first and Wednesday of this week was a span of 47 days, so that means Best Buy has been selling an average of 531.9 TouchPads per day. That is not exactly the most auspicious beginning when one considers that there are 1,099 Best Buy stores in operation in the United States (Source: Best Buy) and that means the average store is selling about one TouchPad every other day.


According to other anonymous sources, Best Buy wants to return its overstock of TouchPads to HP instead of pay for them.

HP's third quarter 2011 earnings call will take place this evening at 5PM EST, so we look forward to seeing exactly what is going on with the WebOS business unit, and how it's performing now that Palm is officially a dead brand. Maybe the company will shed some light on the TouchPad and its place in the market.

Speaking personally, though, when HP debuted the TouchPad in February, I was extremely excited to get an opportunity to try it.
With a nice 9.7" screen and a dual core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the TouchPad initially looked like it would be a great competitor to Apple's iPad.

Then I touched it.

Touching the TouchPad (to use a phrase Betanews CEO Nate Mook would hate) was all it took for me to lose interest in it. Like Apple's iPad and Macbook Air, the HP Touchpad has a tapered edge that is slightly thinner than the center. It's by no means fat, but the TouchPad's weight distribution (1.6 pounds mostly in the center rear of the device,) overall density, and smooth, round shape instantly made me feel like I was holding something that dinner should be served on.

Even now, I can't pick up a TouchPad without thinking I should be eating sushi off of it.

Others, however, have complained that the real problem with the TouchPad is that it's just too expensive. Even though HP already dropped its price by 20%, the $400-$500 pricetag that the TouchPad now carries could be the major reason for the low sales figures, especially when considering the rumors that a 4G-equipped model with improved processor specs is coming soon.

These Best Buy figures, however, are unofficial and mostly unsubstantiated. This morning, we contacted Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot, but none of the retailers were willing to come forward with any opinions on the product at this point.

For now, we must defer to HP.

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