After HP liquidated its remaining TouchPad tablet inventory last month by marking down the prices to $99 for a 16GB tablet and $149 for a 32GB model, the company placed one more order with its suppliers which was expected to result in a few hundred thousand more TouchPads heading to America.
Today HP let its employees have first crack at the new crop of tablets — and it looks like the HP Employee Purchase Program store crashed under the pressure almost immediately. PreCentral reports that it’s not clear how many tablets were sold this morning — but it is pretty clear that they’re already sold out.
Hopefully HP put aside a few tablets for retail channels. At the very least, it sounds like the folks at OnSale worked out a deal with HP to get some tablets to send to customers who had placed orders in August only to find their orders canceled due to lack of supply.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for tablets to show up at Amazon… or at your local Best Buy anytime soon. And if they do, I suspect they too will sell out in minutes. If the limited number of HP employees able to place orders today jumped on the deal this quickly, just think about what will happen when they go on sale to the public again.
Now that HP has a new CEO, it’s possible the company could reconsider its plans to kill off its webOS hardware division. But even if HP were to start producing TouchPad tablets again, it seems unlikely that they’d sell for $99… which means it’s also unlikely that they’d sell very well. At this point there are probably somewhere around a million TouchPad tablets in existence… and that’s probably about all we’re going to get.
Still, if you’re lucky (and persistent), you might be able to snag one soon without resorting to eBay.