After announcing it was killing off the WebOS platform and new TouchPad range, HP has seen its tablets sell in huge numbers at bargain prices in the UK today.
The TouchPad had already been reduced to $99 in the US, and Dixons was the first firm to drop the price in the UK, with Dixons PR Mark Webb teasing the news on Twitter from late afternoon.
The 16GB (reduced to £89) and 32GB (reduced to £115) models finally went on sale at their new prices shortly after 6pm and sold out within minutes.
Users flocked to social media to celebrate or complain about getting hold of the devices.
When we spoke to Mark Webb on Twitter about the demand, he told PCR: "It was bonkers."
PC World and Currys sold out alongside Dixons. Best Buy went live with new prices shortly after them, and similarly saw stock fly off the online shelves. The Carphone Warehouse website crashed with the demand, with users reporting on Twitter that hundreds of people were on hold with the retailer trying to buy it over the phone.
This level of demand is significant for a device that was barely selling only days before. Has HP found out – too late – the magic price point for huge tablet sales, or are the TouchPads only shifting so quickly because of the perceived ‘bargain’ that’s available?
Amazon – which hadn’t reduced the price at the time of writing [edit : the 16GB model went to £89 after midnight but appeared out of stock, although it was still orderable] – is yet to reveal anything about its own range of tablets, but must be watching what’s happening with interest, as it is one of the few retailers that can afford to sell hardware as a loss leader and then claw back revenues later.