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.