HP offers lucky TouchPad owners free apps

Just in case a massive price cut wasn't apology enough for its apparent abandonment of webOS, HP has announced a deal for TouchPad owners that sees them getting a six-pack of paid-for apps completely free of charge.

The apps normally sell on the HP App Catalog - the webOS equivalent of Apple's App Store or Google's Android Market - for between $0.99 and $14.99, but with a series of discount vouchers sponsored by HP all six are now available completely free of charge.

Included in the six pack is: Glimpse, a neat split-screen interface for easier multitasking which normally costs $5; Kung Fu Panda 2 Storybook, a kid-friendly film tie-in which normally costs $2.99; Big Boss, a game in which you take on the role of a designer of end-of-level bosses and try to defeat the heroes which normally costs $1.99; Sparkle HD, a TouchPad optimised version of the popular desktop game which normally costs $4.99, Camera for TouchPad, which does what you might expect and normally costs $0.99; and Audubon Birds, which is a searchable digital field guide to the birds of North America and which normally costs $14.99.

That last entry, sadly, hints at a restriction on the offer: currently, the discount vouchers only work for those with TouchPads registered on the US App Catalog. Those outside the US will find themselves paying full price if they try to take advantage of HP's largesse.

Thankfully, HP has indicated that it will be extending the offer to "other countries where TouchPad is available" soon - and will add another six-pack of freebies early next month, offering yet more balm for those burned by the purchase of what is now a dead device on a near-abandoned platform.

For those in the UK who have managed to get their hands on the TouchPad for a bargain £89, there's another offer to keep you going until HP extends the six-pack deal: installing the free Box.net cloud storage client from the HP App Store on any TouchPad immediately grants you 50GB of storage - up from the standard 5GB for free accounts - which is yours for life, and accessible from any device.

With stocks of the TouchPad depleted - despite promises from HP that more devices will be appearing on the market soon, as it works to empty its warehouse of the tablet - it's hard to see why HP is giving away premium apps, as it certainly can't be a way of encouraging more buyers to invest in the device. Whatever the reason, those who managed to get their hands on the most popular tablet since the iPad will be increasingly glad they did, it seems.

For those of our readers situated in the US, the voucher codes can be had over here - and if you're browsing on your shiny new TouchPad, the links will automatically open up the HP App Catalog.