HP Tablet: A Bestseller, Now That HP Is Killing It

Company offers it for $99, if you can find it.

Aug. 22, 2011 — -- Six weeks ago, when the HP TouchPad tablet was introduced, the company could barely give it away. Now that Hewlett-Packard has killed it off, it's a winner.

It's been for sale online and at stores such as Best Buy at prices as low as $99 for the Wi-Fi only 16 GB version, and $149 fully loaded with 32 GB. It's still not an iPad, but at these prices it's a steal.

Where to find one? It's a race to the checkout line. Today the TouchPad was the top seller in electronics on Amazon.com, though for far more than the fire-sale prices that began to appear over the weekend.

HP's own website offered the TouchPad "starting at $99.99." It was forced to insert a blue box: "Notify me when product available again."

On Twitter, the hashtag "#HPTouchpad" appeared, for people anxious to buy one at a bargain. And sites such as SlickDeals have been trying to keep up with the rapidly-changing prices.

Best Buy lowered its price ... then said it was no longer selling TouchPads ... then said it was selling them again, but limiting them to one to a customer (Best Buy's FAQs are here).

By the way, if you were foolish enough to buy a TouchPad at full price when it first appeared, major retailers said they would take it back or reduce the price to the bargain-basement levels that have been offered now.

As reported Thursday, Hewlett Packard decided there was no point in trying to compete anymore in the high-stakes, low-margin business of making hardware, even if it was the biggest-selling brand in the U.S. Apple has a lock on high-end computers and handhelds, and companies like Dell and China's Lenovo have made life tough for HP. So HP announced on Thursday it would reinvent itself as a software services company, much as IBM did a decade before.

The transition has not gone well so far. On Friday, Wall Street pushed HP stock down 20 percent.