eXelate Index: Interest in eReaders and TouchPads Spikes in August

Wikipedia recently updated the HP TouchPad article page as a result of the August 18, 2011 announcement that less than 7 weeks after the TouchPad was launch in the United States, Hewlett-Packard would discontinue all current hardware devices running webOS.

The post states:

“The HP TouchPad, if it were less expensive, could be an extremely strong, if slightly less polished, alternative to the iPad. But like other recently-released high-profile Android tablets, it’s determined to take on the champ. And just like those Android tablets, it’s hard to recommend over an iPad at the same price.”[8]

On August 16, 2011, it was reported that Best Buy had only sold 25,000 of 270,000 devices that it had in its inventory and was refusing to pay HP for the rest.[33] In Europe, the Touchpad was estimated to have sold 12,000 in its first month of release with sales slowing significantly in August. Industry commentators suggested that the lack of apps for the platform was hindering sales.[34]

On August 18, 2011, HP announced in a press release that it will discontinue all webOS devices and is considering spinning off its personal computer unit. HP stated that it would “continue to explore options for webOS”.[35] In addition to disappointing sales, poor hardware performance may have been another reason for HP management’s decision to discontinue the TouchPad.

On August 19, 2011, HP allowed retailers to sell all remaining stock at extremely low prices. In the USA, the price was $99 for the 16GB model and $149 for the 32GB model.[9] Large numbers of buyers acquired the TouchPad at “fire sale” prices.[36] Most brick-and-mortar retailers reportedly sold out their entire inventories within hours in the morning of August 20.[37] Online retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Best Buy, faced massive backlash from angry customers when they offered the tablet on their sites at $99 on August 22, sold out their inventories in record time (in case of Barnes and Noble, in less than an hour), and were forced to cancel many subsequent orders.[38]

On August 22, 2011 a fire sale similar to those in the U.S was held in Australian Harvey Norman stores. Although the event was not advertised and staff at many stores were not informed until midday, stores in several states were sold out within an hour.[39][40] Similar sales also started in the UK with several stores reducing prices at 6pm to match the US (£89 for the 16GB and £115 for the 32GB). Most sold out in minutes.[citation needed]

According to the eXelate Index data, we saw a spike too. There was a clear interest in eReaders (including TouchPads) during the dates mentioned.

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