Earlier this month it looked like the end was nigh for HP’s under appreciated TouchPad tablet and webOS mobile operating system. The company announced that it intended to spin off its PC division, and in the same breath said it was discontinuing the TouchPad while leaving webOS to fend for itself in the land of printers and other peripherals.
However, it appears that after recent developments the TouchPad and webOS may have found a second life. When HP announced they were discontinuing the TouchPad they slashed the price to $99 in order to clear inventory. And clear inventory they did; TouchPads were sold out nationwide within days. This has prompted HP to bring back the TouchPad for a limited production run.
“HP will be manufacturing a limited quantity of TouchPads with WebOS during our fourth fiscal quarter 2011, which ends October 31,” said Mark Budgell, public relations manager at HP.
TouchPads will be available from HP’s website for $99 and $150, for the 16GB and 32GB versions, respectively. Individual retails will be able to set their own prices.
Shortly after HP announced that they were brining back the TouchPad, albeit briefly, it was announced that Samsung has expressed interest in purchasing webOS.
Citing their “sources from notebook players”, DigiTimes is reporting that Samsung is considering purchasing webOS in order to compete against Apple and Google in the smartphone-tablet market war.
Given that Google has recently acquired Motorola Mobility, a possible threat to hardware brand vendors, and that the TouchPad’s user base has expanded dramatically, this purchase makes sense. It is likely that HP’s ultimate play here was to expand the TouchPad’s user base at a slight loss in order to prime it for an acquisition/takeover. Further, if rumors hold true that Samsung wants to purchase HP’s PC division it would make sense that Samsung would consider buying the other asset that HP is selling.