Did Tuesday’s $50 price cut on the HP TouchPad strike you as ho-hum? Perhaps this weekend’s $100 price cut will do the trick.
The instant rebate will be in effect from August 5 through August 7 on HP’s website, PreCentral reports.
The TouchPad debuted to lukewarm reviews, partly because there aren’t a lot of tablet apps on HP’s WebOS platform, and partly because the software was buggy and slow. HP has improved its software through a subsequent update, but the app deficiency remains.
And therein lies the chicken-and-egg dilemma for tablet makers who want to go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad: They need strong app lineups to make their hardware look appealing to consumers, but they can’t get developers to build new ecosystems if people aren’t buying the hardware. While this was true to an extent with smartphones, Apple’s competitors at least had a chance to build themselves up on wireless carriers other than AT&T, which until this year sold the iPhone exclusively. With tablets, that door is closed, so tablet makers must rely on other methods to stand out and build competing platforms.
For HP, the simplest method is pricing. Unlike Android tablet makers, HP owns the TouchPad’s WebOS software, so the company has more to gain by sacrificing short-term profits in exchange for long-term adoption of the platform.
That said, Android tablet makers are getting aggressive on pricing as well. Acer, for instance, is expected to launch its 7-inch Iconia A100 tablet this month for $300. Archos plans to launch an 8-inch Android Honeycomb tablet for $279 and a 10.1-inch tablet for $349 later this year. Meanwhile, a possibly cheap Amazon tablet looms.
All of this is great for consumers, but it spells more danger for HP as it tries to make WebOS a legitimate tablet contender. A temporary price drop is nice, but HP must be prepared to drop prices permanently if this promotion isn’t a rousing success.