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HP ponders TouchPad resurrection

Dithering HP is having second thoughts about pulling the plug in its TouchPad and could bring it back to life, according to an executive.

HP's decision to take a machete to the price of its TouchPad tablet resulted in Apple-levels of demand, with the device selling out in a matter of hours. While HP took a huge financial hit selling the devices far below their material cost (an estimated loss of $207 each), the glut of new users and the unprecedented demand has seemingly made HP think twice about abandoning the tablet business.

Todd Bradley, head of HP's Personal Systems Group told Reuters that tablets should be part of its product mix saying, "Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely."

Bradley put down a marker by saying that he intends to head up any spin-off company, saying the Personal Systems Group would bring HP shareholders "best value". That comment should raise a few eyebrows as most would believe that HP gets the best bang for its buck through its printer ink division.

As for HP flogging its PC unit to a rival such as Acer or Lenovo, according to Bradley the numbers simply do not stack up. Bradley said, "I would just say that the numbers don't support that that strategy works." He cited Acer's recent quarterly loss as justification for his comments.

As for the TouchPad: clearly there is an insatiable appetite for cheap tablets, even ones that are known to have a 'dead' operating system loaded onto them.

If HP does decide to go back into the tablet business, it's unlikely punters will see a £89 TouchPad for some time. However, what they may find is a tablet running an operating system that actually has a future.