Report: HP had nearly finished a 7-inch TouchPad

The death of the HP TouchPad was a sudden movement that took most of the tech world by surprise. Over the past few days, customers have been buying up the defunct tablets in a frenzy, as outlets rush to cut prices as quickly as they can. One of the contributing factors to the tablet's death was its poor reviews. Journalists called it expensive and heavy, and it appears the seven-week-old tablet never stood a chance.

Keen-eyed readers may remember an FCC filing not too long ago from HP. A new 7-inch TouchPad known as "Opal" was in the works, and a new report suggests the tablet was quite far into development. Far enough, in fact, that some employees had their hands on production-ready debug models, trying to iron out the kinks in time for release. "Opal" would've been known as the TouchPad Go to the rest of us, featuring Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity under both 16GB and 32GB configurations.

Other projects that died appeared to be down to mis-management. "Windsor" was meant to be released last year, but deadlines slipped and insiders decided the phone wasn't too impressive to begin with. "Stingray" was a more EVO-like competitor, with hard-hitting features like an 8MP camera and a large glass screen, but work on the TouchPad meant engineers were too distracted by other deadlines to work on it in time. "Dartfish" was a netbook-like webOS computer, similar to Palm's ill-fated Foleo. It was due for a late spring release, but will now never see the light of day.

It's hard to say whether "Opal" could've saved HP's investment. One of the biggest criticisms of the first TouchPad was its size and weight, which a smaller TouchPad may have been able to solve. On the other hand, the biggest-selling tablets in the wild tend to be around 10 inches, so it may have been seen as a compromise compared to its bigger brother. Unless prototypes are leaked onto eBay at a later date, we will probably never know if it had been worth waiting for.

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11 Comments

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Didn't Sony and Microsoft lose a ton of money when they started with the Xbox and the Playstation? I'd have paid $250 to $300 for a touchpad. They wouldn't have lost as much money and could have profitted by licensing the WebOS services like Microsoft does Live (specifically Xbox Live) Wifi sync to HP's cloud service that allows you to backup your touchpad.

Gaara sama said,
i just buy 2 16G for $99 from barnes & noble website good deal and cheap , sorry again apple lol

how can you? i received a cancellation mail from BN just hours back due to shortage of supplies!!

They REALLY should revisit this and find a way to keep the $99 pricing point or even something under $149. Look at how people went nuts: better pricing will undo Apple. Consumers obviously value the HP brand and think of the TouchPad as some type of quality product perhaps based on the plethora of TV ads that got shoved down their throats.

Otherwise, they wouldn't have jumped at the opp to nab one. If Coby stopped doing tablets or another less-than-popular brand, no one would care. People cared enough because the product said HP on it and that says a lot about HP.

From what I recall from the commercials, I know the tablet plays videos. However, I didn't see any mention of video calling or music downloads, unless I missed it. Perhaps if they came back with an improved $99-$149 tablet and pushed complimentary brands like Amazon MP3/VOD/Kindle/Cloud Player and DropBox to showcase cloud capabilities, then they'd be on to something.

seebaran said,
They REALLY should revisit this and find a way to keep the $99 pricing point or even something under $149. Look at how people went nuts: better pricing will undo Apple. Consumers obviously value the HP brand and think of the TouchPad as some type of quality product perhaps based on the plethora of TV ads that got shoved down their throats.

Otherwise, they wouldn't have jumped at the opp to nab one. If Coby stopped doing tablets or another less-than-popular brand, no one would care. People cared enough because the product said HP on it and that says a lot about HP.

From what I recall from the commercials, I know the tablet plays videos. However, I didn't see any mention of video calling or music downloads, unless I missed it. Perhaps if they came back with an improved $99-$149 tablet and pushed complimentary brands like Amazon MP3/VOD/Kindle/Cloud Player and DropBox to showcase cloud capabilities, then they'd be on to something.

Who doesn't love a tablet that costs $350+ to make but sells for $99? Winning market share doesn't matter if you lose hundreds of dollars each time someone buys your product.

There is no way to maintain a $99 price point without something like requiring a 2 year data contract or some other way to make money on it.

Heck, if the Touchpad started at $99 or $150, people would have just bought it and then sold it for parts.

Free money.

SpyCatcher said,
If HP or other tablet makers want to put a dent in Apple's market share $99.00 to $199.00 is the price point.
unfortunately it's impossible to build a quality tablet for that price

SpyCatcher said,
If HP or other tablet makers want to put a dent in Apple's market share $99.00 to $199.00 is the price point.

1- That price point is impossible with the hardware and manufacturing costs.
2- They wouldn't be denting Apple's market share. Apple's customers are generally idiots with more money than sense, who would probably see such a tablet as unappealing because of the low price..

LordBattleBeard said,

2- They wouldn't be denting Apple's market share. Apple's customers are generally idiots with more money than sense, who would probably see such a tablet as unappealing because of the low price..

Nice generalization there. *sigh*

Article says: "Opal" would've been known as the TouchPad Go to the rest of us,"

Unlike the full-sized Touchpad, which is known as the TouchPad Gone to the rest of us