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8/20/2011
02:24 PM
Art Wittmann
Art Wittmann
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HP's Latest Fiasco: The Vanishing $99 TouchPad

HP killed the TouchPad and other WebOS devices, but they were available for $99 at various retailers. Unfortunately some buyers rushed to snap them up, but were shut out.

It wasn't quite the scene you'll find for the iPhone 5 debut, but about 30 or more bargain hunters showed up at San Francisco's Best Buy hoping to snatch up a cheap HP TouchPad on Saturday. Internet reports indicated that the TouchPad devices had sold cheaply in Canada, and other big box stores like Fry's had sold out. The going price: $99 for the 16 GB version, $149 for the 32 GB TouchPad.

BestBuy HP nonevent

Most of the crowd had seen the notice on Best Buy's door indicating that there had been an error, and the TouchPad wouldn't be sold at all. Yet they waited to hear it from store workers. Sure enough, at 10 a.m. the outer doors opened, the crowd moved toward the door, and an employee clad in the usual Best Buy Polo shirt informed everyone that if they were there for the TouchPad, they were out of luck.

A disappointed group turned in mass and headed back to their cars.

It wasn't just the size of the group that differed from an Apple product launch. Most notably, there wasn't a Millennial to be found. The average age of the crowd seemed closer to 40. A swarm of German and Japanese luxury cars slowly left the Best Buy parking lot.

Discussions in the cars probably centered around whether they could find the device selling cheaply elsewhere, and about how HP had made yet another implosive mistake in its handling of the WebOS device shutdown.

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