£89 Touchpad Tablet: Did HP Mess Up Royally In The UK?

Many thousands hopeful Touchpad customers in the UK have been through an emotional roller coaster in the last few hours as stocks of the £89 tablet dwindled and disappeared altogether, with the likes of Amazon issuing cancellation emails that crushed the last hopes of those who were expecting their tablets to be shipped soon.

We are still baffled by the decision of HP to price the TouchPad at £89, a price that was certain to cause a massive spike in demand. Even at double the price, the tablet would have been snapped by the crowd and HP would have at least broken even (the bill of material of the Touchpad approaches $318).

Even more puzzling is HP's apparent reluctance not to allow all its retailers to sell all their TouchPad and Pre 3 stocks at the same time. The decision to literally line up retailers (starting with Dixons, then Comet, Staples, Dabs etc) proved to be an ill-fated one.

The result, as we now know, has been catastrophic for many of HP's channel allies like Dabs, Equanet or Insight as their websites got hammered by hordes of customers looking to buy the Touchpad and have potentially lost millions in sales during that period.

The other direct consequence was that it allowed a few buyers to get away with a steal while hundreds of others were left frustrated as Carphone Warehouse, then Amazon started to issue cancellation notices.

In addition, we hear that HP staff were not given priority to get hold of the TouchPad and ended up with 500 tablets to be distributed amongst 10,000 according to a source that remained anonymous.

All in all, HP could have exited the stage in a more graceful way, one that didn't have to end up with hundreds of bitter customers left utterly disappointed and so many profiteering from HP's largesse (there are nearly 400 HP TouchPad on sale on Ebay at the moment with the average selling price being £200).