Hewlett-Packard is planning one last, glorious ride for the HP TouchPad by manufacturing an unspecified amount of the devices “to meet unfulfilled demand” for the discontinued webOS slate. Although HP’s tablet never fared well when it went head-to-head against the iPad at $499, and later $399, people couldn’t get enough of the device once HP gave it a fire sale price of $99.
The company says it will produce TouchPads during HP’s fourthfiscal quarter ending October 31. It’s not clear if that means HP willbe manufacturing TouchPads through the entire quarter or just that thecompany will be producing webOS tablets sometime between now andHalloween. Rumor has it HP is making new TouchPads to appease componentmakers in HP’s supply chain who were upset about being left withTouchPad parts sitting in their warehouses.
Regardless, it’s good news for deal-hunting TouchPad fans that HP hasplans to get more cheap webOS slates onto the market.Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far about HP’s second TouchPadfire sale.
How many TouchPads will beavailable?
HP says it doesn’t know for sure how many TouchPads it will be able tosell, so the company can’t promise it will have enough for everyone whohas indicated interest in the device.
When will HP TouchPads go on sale?
HP isn’t sure exactly when it will have its last run of TouchPadsavailable for purchase. The company figures it will be at least a fewweeks. If you signed up to be notified via email, HP says it will letyou know when TouchPads are available and the company will also updateits TouchPadFAQ page with more information.
But considering it is going to be a race to get your hands on aTouchPad, a good strategy would be to keep your eye on the Twitteraccounts for HP’s social media reps, Bryna Corcoranand MarkBudgell in case there is no advance notice.
How much will the TouchPads cost? HP didn’t explicitly say that the new run of TouchPads will be sold for$99 each, but all indications from HP suggest the fire sale price willremain the same.
How many can I buy at once?
It’s not clear how many you will be allowed to buy, but don’t count onbuying truckloads of the device, as HP says it will impose a purchaselimit for each customer.
Where can I get a TouchPad?
You can bet on being able to get a TouchPad from HP’s online storefront,but it’s not clear if retail chains will also be carrying TouchPadstock. HP’s FAQ says each retailer will be responsible for its ownpricing, but it’s not clear whether that means any third-party outletsplan on carrying the device. Your best bet is to contact electronicsretailers in your area such as Best Buy, Office Depot and others to seewhether they have any TouchPad news to share with you.
Is buying a discontinued tabletcrazy?
Some people such as Windows blogger PaulThurrott think so. “The TouchPad was worthless when it wasfully supported. So it’s beyond worthless now,” Thurrott said. But ifyou want a tablet primarily for Web browsing, you can’t go wrong with aTouchPad. Besides, you will also have access to a limited number ofthird-party webOS apps, at least for the immediate future.
And if you don’t like webOS….
There are several fun projects going on right now to turn the TouchPadinto a hacker’s dream tablet by porting a variety of Linux-basedoperating systems to the device. Liliputinghas a how-to post for daring readers willing to go through a detailedprocess to install Ubuntu 11.04 on their HP tablet.
And of course, hackers are hard at work trying toport Android to the TouchPad. The TouchDroid project plans on usingAndroid 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) for its beta testsbefore trying to put a tablet-specific version of Android on theTouchPad such as the forthcoming version, Ice Cream Sandwich.
The TouchDroid team better hurry up as the team over at Cyanogen Modlast Friday was showing off a port of Cyanogen Mod version 7 running onthe TouchPad — albeit without a functioning touchscreen. Cyanogen Mod isa popular alternative Android distribution for rooted devices. CyanogenMod version 7 is based on the non-tablet friendly Android 2.3(Gingerbread).
The Cyanogen team says it still has a long way to go before itsTouchPad firmware distribution will be ready for prime time and is notproviding any estimates on when the port will be ready.
For interested developers, there is also a $2,100 bounty being offeredto anyone who successfully ports Android to the TouchPad.