As Apple continues to sell each and every iPad 2 it produces, competitors like HP are having a tough time getting people interested in rival tablets like the HP TouchPad.
With lukewarm reviews, at best, the HP TouchPad has gotten off to a terribly slow start. So slow, in fact, that HP recently instituted a permanent $100 price cut on all of its TouchPad models. That’s hardly an auspicious beginning for a company that was previously confident it could dethrone Apple’s iPad.
As bad as that sounds, the reality is much worse.
Sources in the know have told AllThingsD that HP TouchPad sales at Best Buy are absolutely tepid. Best Buy to date has purchased 270,000 TouchPads but has only sold 25,000 to consumers. Indeed, one source who claims to have Best Buy’s TouchPad sales figures claims that the 25,000 figure itself might be generous as it doesn’t encompass store returns.
Best Buy, sources tell us, is so unhappy that it has told HP it’s unwilling to pay for all the TouchPads it has taking up expensive space in its stores and warehouses and wants HP to take them back. HP, for its part, is pleading with Best Buy to be patient. We’re also told a senior HP executive, possibly executive VP Todd Bradley, is slated to travel to Minneapolis soon to discuss the matter with Best Buy executives.
That’s rough, but altogether not surprising.
Yes, the HP TouchPad runs WebOS but just look at what WebOS did for the Palm Pre. In today’s marketplace, a company needs a whole lot more than a snazzy OS to compete – you need an entire ecosystem. But in order to get an ecosystem up and off the ground, you need sales. A lot of sales. It’s really a vicious cycle and until HP decides, if ever, to license WebOS, we can’t envision the company having any sort of success in the smartphone or tablet space.
HP is set to release its earnings for the quarter gone by today so it’ll be interesting to see how forthright HP’s executives are about the state of their tablet business.