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HP employees rush to buy last ever TouchPads

HP has delivered on its promise to offer its employees first refusal on the last ever - and we mean it this time, honest - batch of TouchPad webOS-powered tablets, and demand has been high enough to take the company's website offline.

In a small-scale mirror of the rush to buy the £89 discounted discontinued tablet as retailers dropped the price, HP's Employee Purchase Programme site - a staff-only service where discounted goods can be procured by the lucky few - has been bogged down by demand.

According to an HP staffer speaking to company watcher webOSroundup, it took almost three hours to place an order for a single TouchPad once news broke of their availability. Worse still, many users were left with error messages complaining of high traffic and were unable to order their discount tablets at all.

With demand proving as high as ever, it seems increasingly unlikely that any of the limited production run - chosen by HP as the most logical choice to dispose of unused parts in its inventory while helping to cushion the blow for its OEM manufacturing partners - will make it out into the channel for retail sale.

That's bad news for those who were left out in the cold during the original sale. With efforts to port Google's Android platform - which enjoys a far larger developer ecosystem along with the seemingly guaranteed future which the discontinued webOS lacks - nearing completion, the TouchPad is fast becoming the tablet bargain of the year even now Amazon has gone public with its Kindle Fire device.