In the wee hours of the morning yesterday HP marked down the price of its now-discontinued HP TouchPad tablet and started selling off inventory for prices as low as $99. The tablet quickly sold out online and in stores.
But there’s one store where you simply couldn’t buy the tablet at all on August 20th, 2011: Best Buy locations in the US. The electronics superstore chain decided to ship remaining inventory back to HP instead of selling it off at reduced prices.
Today Best Buy is singing a different tune. When stores open this morning Best Buy will sell the HP TouchPad at clearance prices on a first come, first served basis. That means if you line up outside of Best Buy stores in the US this morning before opening time you might be able to get a 16GB HP TouchPad WiFi Tablet for $99 or a 32GB model for $149.
That’s assuming there are any TouchPads left in stock when you arrive. Employees of Best Buy and other retail chains are reporting that they’re getting first crack at the tablets.
Most Best Buy locations open at 10:00AM on Sundays.
You can also place orders at BestBuy.com and arrange for in-store pickup or delivery. Scratch that: it looks like Best Buy is sold out online, but you may still be able to find some in stores if you’re lucky.
Yesterday Staples was planning on returning unsold inventory to HP. Today the TouchPad is going for $99 to $149 at Staples.com — but it’s sold out online. It looks like there are limited quantities available in stores though, so you may be able to pick one up at a Staples location today if you act fast.
Meanwhile HP is currently out of stock, but the store expects to get some units again. You can sign up to receive an email notification when HP has more TouchPads to sell. Now that Best Buy is selling the TouchPad again instead of sending what may be as many as 250,000 units back to HP though, it’s not clear just how many more units HP will be selling through its website in the days or weeks to come.
While the HP TouchPad didn’t sell very well when it was going for $399 and up, at $99 it’s a steal. The tablet has a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel capacitive touchscreen display and a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It can play movies, surf the web, read eBooks, and do many of the things you would do with an iPad or Android tablet. There are also a number of third party apps — but that number is much smaller than the hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS or Android.
If you never install a single app on the TouchPad, it’s still a bargain at $99 when you consider the fact that an Amazon Kindle or similar eBook Reader sells for around $130. But if you want to future-proof the TouchPad in case HP never succeeds in its plans to keep the webOS operating system alive by finding new partners to license the software, it looks like the independent hacker community has you covered. Efforts are already underway to get Google Android and Ubuntu Linux running on the TouchPad hardware.
On the other hand if you already purchased an HP TouchPad and have lost interest in it now that the device has been discontinued less than two months after launch, (or just want some money back since you paid $499 for a tablet that now costs just $99) HP has you covered… the company is offering full or partial refunds.