Rumor: Best Buy unable to sell 90% of its HP TouchPad stock

HP TouchPad

The HP TouchPad is one of the few tablets to launch this year that doesn’t run Google Android. The only other big name tablets in this class would be the BlackBerry PlayBook and the market-leader: the Apple iPad 2. But while the TouchPad’s webOS operating system helps set it apart from the crowd, it doesn’t necessarily help the tablet sell.

AllThingsD is reporting that electronics retailer Best Buy received 270 thousand tablets from HP this summer — but has only managed to sell about 25 thousand to consumers. Best Buy is reportedly asking HP to take back some of the tablets.

This is a pretty good illustration of the difference between shipments and sales. When companies talk about the number of products they’ve shipped during a given period, they typically talk about how many units have been sold to retailers. Those figures don’t tell us how many are still sitting on store shelves. So while HP could likely make the case that it’s shipped a fairly large number of TouchPads, if the Best Buy figures are accurate, it looks like the product is significantly less popular with consumers.

This story follows news that HP had dropped the price of the TouchPad by $100 to make it more competitive. We’ve also seen the tablet, which launched at a $499 price point just a last month, sell for as little as $300.

It’s possible that there is still demand for the HP TouchPad tablet, but that consumers are reluctant to purchase until they know they’re getting the best price. After all, why pay nearly $500 when you can get the same product for $300? But HP has always been a company that runs promotions allowing customers to pick up computers and accessories at deep discounts on an ongoing basis. Some folks look for those sales, and others are unaware of them and pay full price.

A more likely explanation is that HP faces an uphill battle convincing consumers that a tablet that doesn’t run the popular iOS or Android operating systems can be at least as useful as devices from the competition, even though there are far fewer third party apps available for the platform today.

The HP TouchPad has a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel capacitive touchscreen display, a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, and webOS 3.0 operating system. The tablet is available with either 16GB or 32GB of storage.

 

  • Tomleem

    I have bought a HP Touchpad. I really like it. One is suppose to be able to sync it with ones HP/Palm WebOS phone. It would be great if it could sync with non-WebOS phones too. I have found a lot of useful apps for it (it might not have as many apps as iOS or Android). I really enjoy playing Angry Birds on a bigger screen (which is easy to use and is easy to ‘click’ on things). I am able to watch YouTube videos on it and dont have problems with web sites (the ones I tried any way). I believe it is flash ready.

    It was not easy finding a place to buy it. I was unaware that Best Buy had them. I paid $400 instead of $500 from HP.com since Staples.com and Staples store ran out of the 16 gb version. It does not help that the 4G version will cost $700. Some negative reports about Touchpad does not help it (apparently some of the negative reports from those who have not used one).

    • Anon

      Will it run Citrix’s GO-TO-MEETING?  As the resolution is good enough.   Citrix only lists Microsoft OS and Apple as supported yet has a certain model of the Motorola Android phone that they say will run the GO-TO-MEETING app.   So, we are needing this app on either WebOS or Andriod for tablets (might buy HP one if it runs this app)?

      • Anonymous

        Not yet, they just have the Citrix Receiver app right now but they should get a version of the other apps eventually.  In the meantime MightyMeeting supports WebOS.

  • Anon

    HP and others will have an interesting path if these $80 Andriod devices hit the US market.

    http://singularityhub.com/2011/08/16/80-android-phone-sells-like-hotcakes-in-kenya-the-world-next/

    I can see TracFone and others in the pre-paid phone area using these, and if the economy gets worse, more folks being interested too.
    If battery life is not good, then have two phones with SIM and swap SIM between normal TracFone, and this $80 Android device.  Use Android for when you need it, otherwise use the multi-day battery of the $15 Pre-paid TracFone.  Two devices, but at the savings, it would be worth it for many.

    • Hans

      Tracfone doesn’t work that way.  You can’t swap a sim card from one Tracfone to another, they are locked to the individual phone. 

      Regards,

      Hans 

      • Anon

        Would be great if they did.  They could sell TWO phones and one SIM – and sell a lot more minutes if they were to do this.

  • MonkeyKing1969

    I think at this point selling at $399 with a $150 mail
    in HPO rebate might help. The retailers can take a hit on profits, but clear
    out their warehouse.  Moreover, HP can
    just sell the damn things.

  • Shaun Abels

    WebOS is visually stunning and is a joy to navigate through. I personally like it quite a bit even with it’s shortcomings. It just doesn’t do anything better enough, faster enough, etc…to stand out or make itself more desirable than the many Android tablets or the iPad. the Touchpad needs to stand out more to sell.

    People just aren’t going to start clamoring to purchase one of these tablets with so many good Android offerings out there for the same money. Even at a lower price, some smart consumers are going to be wondering if HP will even keep these updated and continue to support an unpopular product. We all saw what happened with Viewsonic and their G-Tablet…

    • Anonymous

      HP is a lot bigger company than Viewsonic and have big plans for WebOS that goes beyond just tablets and smartphones.  So I think they’ll stick with it for the foreseeable future.

      • Shaun Abels

        Yes, HP is much larger; and I’m sure they have grand plans for WebOS else they wouldn’t have purchased Palm. I wish them the best. Like I said, I like what WebOS has going on here. 

        This still doesn’t mean that they won’t leave a poor selling or unpopular product out in the cold. Software updates aren’t always the same for one piece of hardware as they are for another (especially on tablets where you have limited flash storage for OS’s and data) and if this tablet ended up being a dud, chances are they are not going to keep supporting it. 

        Hence the reference to the G-Tab…it was not meant to compare HP to Viewsonic, it was meant to relay a business practice that could feasibly happen to the Touchpad should it bomb. Hope that cleared it up for you. 

      • Anonymous

        There was no confusion on the reference to the G-Tab, like I said the comparison is not really applicable.

        Yes, there are no guarantees but Viewsonic comparison is an exaggeration as that was only a product experiment and they were never heavily invested in the G-Tab other than to see if they could tap into the Tablet market.

        While HP is seriously trying to establish a new competitive market ecosystem.  They knew going in this would be tough and planned for it.

        Typically it can take 2 years at minimal for a new product/business model to be considered successful.  So we’re still a long way before anyone needs to panic.  There would practically need to be hate for their products at this point for them to be seriously concerned.  Meanwhile they’re improving it. 

        Something both iOS and Android already went through when they first came out as well.  The only difference is the greater amount of competition now.

      • Shaunmabels

        I just saw that new article. I really didn’t want to be right. I just saw it coming.

  • sv

    No big surprise.  It cost the same as iPad2 when it first launched yet the hardware (bulky, heavy, and plastic back) was not on par.  I’m all for choices and competition, but OEMs need to be real about their pricing.  

  • Anonymous

    What this potential TouchPad buyer really needs is to hear that HP has finally updated all the lag and the obvious bugs away. And that the skype app is working consistently and QuickOffice has been updated to have editing. Until then, “my” TouchPad will continue to sit on the shelf at some retailer. More like me out there? Probably, but maybe not millions.

  • Anonymous

    We told HP this would happen about a year ago!

    Instead of wasting a billion $$ trying to catch the iPad with this fantasy of WebOS — they should have put a little effort into backing the HP Slate. (and improving it a little).
    It’s not as ‘miraculous’ as the iPad undeniably is — but unlike the iPad, it is actually useful!!
    It was a nice little Netbook that could have really caught on with a market looking for a useful, portable PC that’s also a Tablet. 

    But they barely produced a few thousand Slates for sale inititally, and meanwhile they send B-B nearly 300,000 of these glorified coasters. 

  • qwerty asdf

    silly HP, stop playing catch-up to iPad, you can’t come out with iPad-like device with iPad-like price and expect people to buy it when it’s not an iPad.

    If you really want to be in this market you should have licensed out the OS for free or next to nothing like Android, then we’d see some ~$100 WebOS type devices and those might actually sell, but honestly the tablet market is saturated, it was foolish to fight Apple, didn’t you see what happen to smartphones trying to fight the iPhone?