Rumor: Best Buy sitting on lots of unsold HP TouchPads?

HP's WebOS based TouchPad tablet launched on July 1 but since then the company has been trying desperately to get people to buy it. It's been flooding the airwaves with TV commercials with celebrities using the TouchPad, and more recently HP permanently lowered the price of the tablet by $100. But now a new report indicates that HP and retailers may be having an even harder time convincing people to try out the TouchPad.

AllThingsD.com reports via unnamed sources that retailer Best Buy has so far bought 270,000 units of the HP TouchPad but has only sold 25,000 of the tablets to customers. In fact one of the unnamed sources actually called the 25,000 unit sales number "charitable". The report also claims that Best Buy is so upset about the low sales of the TouchPad that it is asking HP to take them back as all those unsold tablets are taking up space in Best Buy's stores and warehouses.

In addition analyst Rich Doherty of the Envisioneering Group claims he's been in touch with other retailers like Wal Mart and reports they are seeing slow sales as well. Apparently HP's unexpected price cut, rather than causing a surge in sales, is instead making people wait as they think HP might lower the price of the TouchPad even further. HP is slated to reveal its latest financial results later today for the quarter that ended on July 31 but it's not known if the company will reveal any official sales numbers for the TouchPad.

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Be very careful when buying HP products. So very quickly, maybe within months, you will find yourself with a piece of hardware with no drivers (and possibly no software support). HP has abandoned any kind of moderate- or long-term customer support, in exchange for the quick buck.

BestBuy employees will always point the customer towards the item which generates the biggest profit margin. They used to have colored dots on their price tags. One color was to avoid selling (minimal profit margin) and the other to always point to first.

Tablets take up minimal storage space.

It also doesn't help HP (or the TouchPad's potential) if BestBuy employees keep shunning people away from even looking at the TouchPad. I was told on more than occasion by BestBuy employees that I would happier looking at a non-laggy and non-bucky tablet, such as the iPad 2 or GalaxyTab 10.1. When I tell them I already have a TouchPad, they turn away. Like it's such a bad thing that I own a non-Android or non-Apple product. The true black-sheep of the tablet world.

The TouchPad is a great device for a generation 1 product with a lot of potential, but sadly it's not Apple or a Google-powered device. It arrived with too little to offer against the competition, and just a little too late out of the gate.

The advertising of the TouchPad is pretty neat, capitalizing on its multitasking abilities with the built-in apps. However, if they (HP) released webOS 2.2 for the HP Veer, or hell, even the HP Pre 3 ("Coming this summer") with the ability to use tap-to-share, MMS/SMS forwarding, and demonstrated bluetooth calling (currently works with any webOS device (webOS 1.4.x, 2,x), including the *original* Palm Pre (Sprint)). Maybe, add some document editing abilities ("in the coming months") with QuickOffice HD to sweeten the pot. You might have had something there.

After the TouchPad was released, I started to see Blackberry Playbook commercials capitalizing on the ability to send and receive calls on their device. It will smell like HP is just copying RIM, just as QNX copied elements from webOS. Why HP isn't advertising the calling feature on the TouchPad is beyond me. It works great. The sound quality over bluetooth is pretty good.

Then again, as I think about it... it doesn't matter how vivid the screen is, its multitasking abilities or it's ability to charge magnetically... it's come down to how many things can the "tablet" connect to and how much does it weigh. If it doesn't have HDMI, fail. If it doesn't have an SD card slot, fail. The battery doesn't last as long as an iPad 2, fail. No 3/4G/GPS (yet), another fail.

I guess I'm just an delusional Sprint Palm Pre owner who has been patiently waiting for another webOS device to land on Sprint. I know that wont happen anytime in the near future.

I partially blame both HP and retailers for this. HP for being slow as donkey nutts to release their products. They seem to be pretty quick with their Desktop/Laptop release cycle. From HP's side, it's almost like they want the webOS ecosystem to just lay down and die with the way they are handling product releases. Granted, I bet the HP Pre 3 hasn't been released due to lack of U.S. Carrier support -- due to the disasters of the original Palm Pre, Palm Pre Plus, Palm Pre 2, Palm Pixi, Palm Pixi Plus and the HP Veer. I am also disappointed with retailer employee training. It's not just BestBuy, but Fry's, Staples, Microcenter, etc (that's all I can think of for now). None of which like to even acknowledge the HP TouchPad in my area. The displays are often dead or empty. Then again, it's like buying a new car -- a week later someone who doesn't care leaves a nice scratch down the side of your door. /rant

this is not surprising. there is really not likely to be another major competitor in this space. iOS, android, and windows 8 will be the bulk of sales. I'm waiting for a 28nm bobcat with windows 8, then i'll take the plunge.

I was joking last night that the hard work of Russell Brand, Manny Pacquaio, and Lea Michele has sold 10's of HP touchpads. Maybe not far off actually.

smithy_dll said,
I bet they could have sold 250,000 HP slates if they managed to release both on time, and into retail channels.

Actually Best Buy only does a great deal of merchendising to what they sell the most, everything else is left in the shadows.