HP, making it wrong

Mobile Aug 05, 2011 No Comments

If the tidal wave of crowds outside Best Buy and Staples stores this weekend hasn’t tipped you off, the HP Touchpad is on sale for $100 off this weekend.  This discount brings the 16 GB model down to $499 and the 32 GB model down to $599.  As if that wasn’t enough to send the people to the streets, Staples appears to have a $100 coupon available from for the Touchpad that can be used in conjunction with the sales to bring the price down even more.  At $299, the Touchpad is almost a justifiable buy at this point, and HP might manage to actually move some products, something no iPad competitor has been able to do up to this point.

While this is great for most consumers, it is unfortunately the last, final insult to some of the most faithful WebOS users.  You may remember that early this year HP confirmed that previous WebOS phones, the original Pre, Pre Plus and Pixi Plus, would not be receiving an update to WebOS 2.0.  The lack of support for phones that had been on sale so recently struck many as a slap in the face.  If that wasn’t enough, it appears extremely unlikely that Sprint will be receiving the Pre 3 later this summer, meaning that the largest group of WebOS users are further left out in the cold unless they change carriers.

To be fair, HP has to make its business decisions independent of its relatively small user base, but the idea clearly struck some people as wrong, including the WebOS team themselves.  In an interview with Engadget and in a blog post, HP expressed their desire to “make it right” with those early supporters of the platform.  While they never officially confirmed that this was the way they were going to follow through, HP recently gave Pre and Pre Plus owners a $50 mail-in rebate on the 32 GB Touchpad.  That was a fairly weak offering, particularly since it targeted the 32 GB model, but it was something.

What’s also something is the firesale of this weekend.  One month after the Touchpad launch and days after the promised software update, HP is now deep discounting the Touchpad far beyond what their gesture to previous Palm customers offered.  If anything, the $50 rebate may have gotten people off the fence to buy a Touchpad only to find out that they could have had one for substantially less. A 32 GB Touchpad could theoretically sell for $150 less today and the total buy-in cost of going with a 16 GB model would be a whopping $250 less than what Pre owners might have paid for a Touchpad in July.

Again, HP can make whatever decisions they feel are in their best interests, but to pretend that they ever made a real attempt at helping out their most ardent supporters is pretty unbelievable at this point.  This is the wrong way to make things right.

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