HP TouchPad tablet shipping again… in small numbers

HP TouchPad

HP sold out of TouchPad tablets almost immediately when the company decided to cancel the product and slash the price by 80 percent in order to clear out the remaining inventory. Folks who had no interest in a $499 tablet running webOS were more than happy to spend $99 on the same tablet.

Now HP and some of its retail partners appear to be shipping TouchPads again. You won’t see the tablet listed for sale anywhere right now, but a number of customers that had already placed orders with HP.com, OnSale, and some other partners are reporting that they’ve received shipping notifications or other communications over the past few days.

So it looks like there may at least be enough new tablets around to fill some outstanding orders. It’s not yet clear whether HP will have enough tablets left after those orders are filled to start selling the tablets again at retail. But the company had promised that it would order one more batch of tablets from the manufacturer — and it looks like HP has followed through on that promise.

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 16GB to 32GB of storage. It’s an even more attractive tablet today than it was two months ago when HP canceled the TouchPad — since hackers have discovered how to run Android or Ubuntu Linux on the tablet.

While webOS is a pretty nice operating system, the TouchPad seems to freeze intermittently for a few seconds when running webOS 3.0.2. There are also far more applications available for competing platforms such as Android as there are for webOS.

Right now the available version of Android for the TouchPad is pretty rough around the edges and prone to crashing or losing wireless connections. But the tablet is already capable of running tens of thousands of Android applications, which means the TouchPad could continue to be a useful device long after HP finally pulls the plug and stops shipping the tablet forever.