Those who missed out on Hewlett Packard's fire-sale of TouchPad tablets, in which the ill-fated webOS devices were sold for as little as £89 following the company's decision to cease all webOS hardware development, are to get a second chance: the company will be listing refurbished models through eBay.
HP's TouchPad, while relatively unsuccessful at launch, became a must-have item when then-chief executive Leo Apotheker announced plans to cease production of the webOS-based tablet as it wound down hardware production acquired following the purchase of Palm. To clear inventory, the company sold off brand-new TouchPad tablets for as little as £89 for the entry-level 16GB edition.
Despite its uncertain future, at that price the 9.7-inch tablet flew off the shelves - even taking some high-profile websites, including HP's own, down with demand. With a powerful 1.2GHz dual-core processor, impressive multi-touch display and 1GB of RAM, it was the most impressive budget tablet ever launched. When third-party developers ported Google's popular Android operating system to the system, it proved an even bigger bargain.
Sadly, supplies were limited. Despite rumours of a last production run, additional retail stock has failed to appear with the last few devices earmarked for webOS developers and HP employees.
There's a chance, however, for those looking for a TouchPad of their own: HP is planning to release refurbished 16GB and 32GB TouchPad tablets on eBay, along with accessory packs featuring a case, TouchStone inductive charging dock and a wireless keyboard.
Due to arrive on the US eBay site at 6:00 PM Central Time on 11th December, the TouchPads will be priced at $99 for the 16GB model, $149 for the 32GB, and $79 for the three-part accessory bundles. Orders will be limited to two per customer, and the refurbished models come with a 90-day warranty rather than the original one-year warranty.
News of the sale was leaked via an internal HP memo obtained by bargain-watching site Slickdeals.net, but thus far HP has not confirmed whether it plans a similar offer for UK customers.