Best Buy, one of America’s largest brick and mortar stores supplying consumers with home and portable electronics, videogames, and just about anything else that runs on electricity, is rumored to have taken order of roughly 270,000 units of the HP TouchPad. Despite the new permanent $100 price cut, and the software updates that have gone out to make webOS feel a little less s-t-t-t-uttery, they’ve only managed to sell 25,000 of them. These figures aren’t just pulled out of a random person’s ass either, they were gathered by the folks at AllThingsD, a blog that’s owned and operated by The Wall Street Journal. According to them there’s a second source they’ve spoken to that says the 25,000 figure is “charitable” at best since it doesn’t include how many people went back to the store to get a refund. Putting this all together, it’s safe to say that not only is the TouchPad a failure, but so is webOS, because no one really cares how much “potential” it has. People want working, functional products. This jives well with a recent report from DigiTimes that says tablet makers are likely “to cut price to digest inventory overstock”, and that as we get closer to the holiday shopping season we may see troves of tablets marked down to as little as $299.
Now some of you will argue that HP can spin this around and start lisencing webOS out to companies looking to differentiate themselves. Say that sentence aloud and realize how it’s complete horse shit because consumers don’t want different. They want a solid product with apps, not a corporate experiment. There’s a reason why the iPad is where it is today, especially after Google rushed Honeycomb out to market, purposefully forking Android to make a dedicated tablet operating system so they don’t lose share to Apple.
We’ll see how things change in 2011, but at this point we’ve got no confidence in HP. None.
Update: Just 24 hours after writing this article, HP decided to kill webOS.