HP says it’s done selling low-cost tablets and instead plans to focus on higher-priced, higher-quality devices. That’s according to a report from PC World, which notes that the only sub-$200 tablets currently listed on the HP website are out of stock.

Meanwhile, the most recent tablets introduced by HP are 2-in-1 models like the $800 HP Spectre x2 and $329 HP Envy Note 8.

hp cheap tablets

HP has tried to play to the mid-range and premium space before with less than stellar results. The company released the HP TouchPad tablet with WebOS software at an iPad-like $499 price point in 2011, but sluggish sales prompted HP to scrap the project, layoff staff, and sell off its TouchPad inventory at fire sale prices.

Ironically the HP TouchPad became a popular device among some enthusiasts when the price dropped to $99… because at the time it was one of the best tablets you could buy in that price range. In fact, some folks are still hacking the 4-year-old tablet, enabling it to run Android 6.0, among other things.

It’s probably too soon to say whether HP’s decision to abandon the low-cost tablet space is the right one. But I can’t say I blame anyone for not wanting to compete in the increasingly crowded space.

A few years ago it was big news when a company introduced a tablet that sold for less than $200. These days it’s not unusual to find models that sell for $50 or less.

But it’s not easy for companies to make a healthy profit by selling dirt cheap tablets. Some companies do it by cutting corners on the hardware and delivering lousy products. Others, like Amazon, sell tablets at or near the price it costs to produce them in hopes of making revenue by selling apps, media, or subscription services.

HP appears to be taking a different approach by opting out of the race-to-the-bottom. The company’s HP Stream 7 and Stream 8 tablets may have been some of the most affordable Windows tablets to launch in 2014, but these days there are plenty of models available for even lower prices. It’s hard to make a cheap tablet that stands out in 2015, so why bother?


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13 replies on “HP is done making cheap tablets (for now)”

  1. HP is just three decisions away from the perfect tablet:
    – copy the Elite x2 1012 features to a 10″ tablet,
    – use a display that is matte or has a low reflectance as of the iPad Mini 4,
    – make the battery replaceable.

  2. The HP Touchpad is the “A-10 Warthog” of tablets. Takes a beating and keeps on kicking ass! It just NEVER dies…It must seriously piss HP off to see it still flourish this many years later – LOL! The Touchpad is my last HP product ever. Anyone or anything but HP!

  3. I bought a Stream 7. Installed Chrome Remote Desktop. Plugged it in at work, slid it out of the way, and use it almost daily to FTP files to and from work.

      1. It is possible he has company authorization to do that so he can work at home part of the time. Work from home one or two days a week on personal equipment is supposedly quite common at companies such as Twitter and Google. I do agree that in some workplaces such as the military or a company with valuable trade secrets that could be quite a violation, though.

  4. Only ODMs with their own brandnames can play in the low price Windows tablet markets and still be profitable.

  5. Lol, $329 for the lowest end Cherry Trail chip… So while everyone else sales the same machine for $150, they are going to sell it for more than twice as much…

  6. I had a Stream 7 for a while. The ‘Modern UI’ apps were OK, but there weren’t many of them. Normal Windows programs could run on it, but the text was so teeny tiny small it was difficult to read the screen without high magnification. There were lots of things you couldn’t do without a keyboard and Mouse too. I bought it on Black Friday last year, used it for a couple of months, then sold on eBay for half what I paid for it. No more Windows tablets for me!

    1. They remind me a lot of the original 7″ EeePCs that helped launch this site. They were neat, they weren’t like anything that had ever been released before, but they simply weren’t all that useful. It’s tough to do anything in Windows at all with less than an 8″ 4:3 or 10″ 16:9 screen.

      Even my 10″ Asus T100 is getting less and less use – and it has the same resolution as my 15.6″ laptop. 7″ Android tablets, on the other hand, are still great to use.

  7. With Amazon selling very inexpensive tablets, I can see why they chose to leave. It also helps their brand image too.

    1. I wish Microsoft would let me use the windows licenses off them so i can make them into low power linux boxes

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