In case you've lost track: Hewlett Packard first announced on August 19 that it was getting out of the tablet-computing game, essentially washing its hands of the TouchPad. Over the following weekend, prices on remaining TouchPad stock dropped from $399 (16GB version) and $499 (32GB version) to $99 and $149, respectively. At this point, the devices began selling like proverbial hotcakes, selling out quickly at the retail level and leading to a feeding frenzy at reseller sites like eBay.
Well, now it appears that HP isn't done making TouchPads, after all. Yesterday, Reuters' Terril Yue Jones quoted the company's Personal Systems Group head Todd Bradley as hinting that the company may revive the suddenly popular tablet, as they contemplated spinning off the division that manufactured it. HP also released an upgrade to the device's native word-processing app, QuickOffice. And now the company has upped the ante again, as a post on Hewlett Packard's blog announced that they were going to produce one final batch for sale to the public:
Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand. We don’t know exactly when these units will be available or how many we’ll get, and we can’t promise we’ll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase.
So what's going on, here? Jason Kincaid passes along the widespread speculation that "HP either has, or has committed to buying, a certain number of TouchPad parts, and that it might make more sense for them to assemble and sell them than to scrap them," which certainly makes sense but remains unconfirmed. What can be confirmed, claims Ryan Kim, is that Hewlett Packard clearly doesn't know what it's doing:
Too bad that HP made such a mess of announcing its plans to get out of the PC business and end its webOS devices. With a little more patience and some smarter thinking, the company could be telling a more measured and confident narrative than the confusing one its muddling through. Instead of hinting at a resurrection, HP could have seemed a lot more composed and clear about its plans if it just showed more poise and patience. Now, it’s just adding more confusion and the company’s stock is taking the brunt for all this ham-fisted messaging.