Are the numerous discounts for the HP TouchPad a sign of an impending permanent price drop?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: August 5, 2011

So the HP TouchPad is out and about now, with plenty of people putting their two cents on whether or not it’s worth your money. Obviously HP thinks you should pick one up, and while the price was a contentious point for some folks, at least a few people at HP saw the original $499.99 price tag for the 16GB model as a good thing. But it looks like that outlook may be shifting slightly. At least, if the recent spate of ridiculously good discounts are any indicator.

Discounts come and go, just as much as the devices we love so much. If you do a good enough of job of looking around, you can usually find a pretty good discount here and there, offering up a big (or small) chunk of change off the original price tag to entice you to buy it. So the fact that the HP TouchPad is seeing its own rounds of discounts isn’t that big of a surprise. However, the fact that it’s coming from just about every single direction imaginable may be a bigger sign of future changes.

Why does a device get discounted? So that it has more of a chance to get into customer’s hands. No matter how well-priced a device may be there is always going to be someone out there who can’t afford it, or won’t drop the cash to pick it up. (Unless it’s free. Free is usually a universal price tag that people will snatch up pretty quickly.) And while free may be great for some, it’s not so great for the manufacturing company. After all, they’ve got to make some money in the whole scheme of things, too. And, we all know that HP was offering up $50 discounts on the TouchPad when it initially launched, but even with that much knocked off, it doesn’t look like the people came in waves to pick up the new webOS-powered tablet.

But now HP has a new, grander deal to make you think twice about picking up the TouchPad. $50 not a big enough deal for you? Well then, how about $100 off? Right then and there, you get $100 off not only the 16GB version, but the 32GB model as well. Oh, but they’re not the only ones. Nope, Staples is actually having a sale on the HP TouchPad, too. Their deal? A $100 coupon on both models. That knocks the 16GB model to $399.99, and the 32GB model to $499.99, which are great prices to say the least.

But, if that’s still too high for you, there’s actually another place that’s selling the HP TouchPad for cheap. Over at, an online retailer that does single-day deals for specific devices, you can get the HP TouchPad for only $379.99. That’s a pretty big cut, but it is only for one day. With all these discounts, someone might start asking whether or not the HP TouchPad is selling well. It doesn’t necessarily say one way or another, truthfully. Sure, we can’t ignore the signs, and obviously HP wants their tablet device in customer’s hands, so offering up special deals like this makes sense. But, it could be a precursor to a permanent price drop, too. It wouldn’t be the first time that a company dropped the price of a device after its initial launch, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

With the TouchPad’s specifications, it’s honestly hard to think that HP would drop the price of the only HP webOS-based tablet, especially so soon. However, with other tablet manufacturers dropping prices, it may just be the course of things. And let’s not forget that holiday shopping is right around the corner, so it will be interesting to see what HP does with the pricing for the TouchPad.

But, are all these discounts a sign of what’s to come? Perhaps. Or maybe HP just wants to offer up some killer deals to get some more customers right now, and let the sales return back to normal right after. Who knows? We shouldn’t expect anything from any company; all we can do is wait and see, but it’s always fun to look at the market and guess what could happen. But here’s the big question: is the pricing for the HP TouchPad, without discounts, too high? And if HP were to cut a permanent $100 off the tablet, would you be willing to pick one up then, if you haven’t already? Let me know in the comments below.

Products mentioned