If you haven't already heard, HP's out of the webOS hardware business and they celebrated by announcing a fire sale of all of their remaining webOS devices (save for the Pre3 and just-released 64GB TouchPad), slashing the TouchPad's price from the already-lowered $399 (16GB) and $499 (32GB) price tags to a mere $99 and $149, respectively. Many viewed this solely as an irresistible deal and potentially the beginning of the end of webOS. To be honest, I initially thought this was a terrible move by HP – it still may prove to be in the long run. But for the moment, this is the greatest thing to happen to webOS yet.

From its start back in 2009, webOS has been the underdog. Little did Palm know the mobile realm would burst at the seams just months after their release of the Pre, and they were not ready for that financially or mentally. One thing led to another and HP bought Palm, saving them from a crash landing. After spending $1.2 billion on Palm, HP decides to drop them like dead weight just under a year and a half later, while deciding to keep the software train rolling. Smooth move, HP.

I've already analyzed where both HP and Palm went wrong with webOS. Among other things, poor marketing, mediocre and slim choice of hardware and the inability to change a failing business plan landed webOS where it is today. But this unexpected fire sale finally gave the web-based platform the single most important thing it never really had on a large scale: mindshare.

Before the TouchPad launched, existing webOS fans were really the only people looking forward to the 9.7-inch slab. For $100 less, you could get an Android tablet with comparable specs and arguably better hardware. For the same price as a TouchPad, users could pick up an iPad. What were the odds of newcomers picking up a tablet with a mostly unknown operating system with questionable hardware over the popular iPad, Transformer or Galaxy Tab 10.1? I think the sales numbers speak for themselves. Even dropping the price of the TouchPad $100 didn't seem to change consumers' minds very much.

Drop the price another $300 (and $450 for the 32GB version) and people go nuts. Anyone who tried to get their hands on the webOS tablet at some point over the last two days should know exactly what I mean. It was worse than trying to find an iPad near Christmas last year. The TouchPad fire sale began on HP's website late Friday night; getting an order to go through was hit-or-miss. Troubles carried over into Saturday as the website was intermittently showing the TouchPad in and out of stock throughout the day and purchases kept timing out. Trying to find a TouchPad in retail stores around the US was also a hit-or-miss. Most of the local retailers told me they sold out by 9 AM Saturday morning.

I knew a fire sale would garner some hysteria, but this weekend was absolutely insane. People who would not normally buy a webOS product rushed to brick and mortar stores early Saturday morning and bought two, three, even four TouchPads. Most likely, these buyers were people who always wanted a tablet but could not muster up the will to spend several hundred dollars on one. That, or they were looking for cheap Christmas gifts ahead of time. There is also a good chance that people bought a TouchPad as an inexpensive means of getting their hands on a tablet with great specs, only to port Android to it. But I digress, this last minute fire sale finally brought webOS into the limelight.

These lucky recipients of TouchPads – who would have never had hands-on time with webOS otherwise – now get to peruse the wonders of HPalm's web-based platform. Sure, HP is losing a ton of money on this sale considering the cost for HP to make a TouchPad was reportedly $306.65 for the 16GB version and $328.65 for the 32GB. Since HP is getting out of the hardware business, it's a small price to pay if the fire sale works in the favor of webOS. If people get the software in their hands and actually like it, we may experience a last minute turnaround from webOS.

Application support is still slim, but webOS is one of the easiest mobile platforms to develop for. I'm guessing curious developers, too, jumped on the deal on the slim chance that webOS may actually gain traction. It's a small gamble that could prove to be well worth it if the platform does take hold. If not, there's still a shot at turning the TouchPad into an Android tablet. Sounds like a win-win to me.

So who fought the masses this weekend and picked up a TouchPad? I grabbed five online, but had no luck at any retail locations. Do you plan to use it as is, give it as a gift or load Android on it (if and when available)? Sound off, pups!

Image via CNET

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eBay prices for the HP TouchPad 16GB

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99 Reactions to this post

"Did you buy an HP TouchPad this weekend?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Thomas A. Kautz I'd like to have two of them ,one to shit on and one to cover it up with!!! Screw Hewlett Packard!!!
Ryan Etzel Have an Ipad 2(:
Henrick Rawlins Anyone wish to sell me a 32GB unit?
Henrick Rawlins What makes me sad is that sick people got up to 10 units. What for?, instead of giving a chance to those who really will take advantage of it. Always sick people messing around. I have look all over without luck.
Jon Jones I have the Pre and love WebOS but would it be worth it if i could find one to get a touchpad? Would it just be a fun toy or can you take it to any carrier and get mobile service with it for when your out and about
Devonne Illusive Man Akinyele Barnes and Noble just cancelled my order... Damn
Susan Blunt I've been trying to get one for two days. Looks like phonedog's giveaway is my final hope. :(
Adam Beneke Found one at Best Buy and got two directly from HP Small Business. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself, hopefully there will be an android port sooner then later.
Robert Centennial You know if RIM offered the Playbook for $99 and included a free tablet that does email, apps, calendar, IM, and some sort of entertainment I would definitely buy one.
Ty Johnson yuuuuuup!!! 16&32g
Randy Oh Yes, luckily I scored a 16gb on Barnes and Noble site last night!
Juel Ahmed damn i missed it! i want one!!
Jomar Lee Streeter Sure did lol
Cheryl Davis I tried to all weekend!!
Arun Chanda Is any online store selling HP tablet for the discounted price...please let me know...Thank you
Zach Cline @Anthony douglas. None.
Jeffrey Hobbs Got 2 one from hp sub and one from onsale through amazon, im hoping atleast one of those orders doesn't get cancelled although so far I've been lucky
Blank EL Johnson Yup, grabbed 1 last night
Kevin Pizana I think HP is stupid for killing something they are still selling...but if I can find one I'm getting one...100$ 10 inch tablet...how can one complain...webOS ftw...lol
Solomon Ing ordered online hope i get it
Robert Centennial I'd rather donate $100 to recovering hooker foundation
Peter Kis Yupp, typing this on it...
Anthony Douglas Getting a tablet for 99.00 is good and all but what kind of support will you get in the future for it?
Tyrone Rupert I ordered three but don't know if they are being processed
John Montgomery Picked up six of them. One for me to leave by the couch for occasional browsing/reference and five others for family members. Really hoping that Android port pans out.
Ricardo Lopez no i got the news too late!
Zach Cline Lol no.
KJ Thornton Two iPad 2's actually.
Shashi Ranjan Yeah ordered 7 as I was running out of toilet tissue.
Erica Reid Nope. Love my Samsung Galaxy
Scott Filip thought i did from B&N, but they my order is on hold and they are not answering their phones!
James Vincent No... I thought about it though
Howard Abraham The thing is... even at a $100 it's still an HP TouchPad.
Stephen Wagner Hell yeah I did
Jon Jerico Calanio Yep, planning to install an Android port when it gets developed.
Francisco Rodriguez Order a 32 gb. Can't pass this bargain
Kalob Martinez I sure tried! But they were our! :(
Simone Suber-Wilson Yep yesterday!
Larry Lambert Got one St b&n this morning. I hate myself for not getting 2, but hopefully it will actually ship.
Sean Baker Bought one from BN.com this morning.
Dawn Vinsonhaler Yep, managed to get 4, happy family :-)
Joshua Ting I would have if I was in the right part of the globe. :p
Morgan Tinker The toshiba thrive is a whole lot beyter to me
Ryan Clark I hope so! Ordered it online :/
Rob Silva Got 2 from Amazon :)
Kevin Mybigman Poor me.... No luck
James Lazaro Rumohr I bought two! xP
Joan James Day didnt know about it till 8:00 last night,because i worked the weend 12 hours.wish i would have know
Javier Aguilar Yes 2 32g.
Jessica Reese Shook I got one on amazon but I don't know yet if the order went through, I have a feeling I am gonna set a cancellation email. We will see!
Peter Tengstedt Eskam Yes. Hopefully
Steve Jackson I don't even have a staples here...(office depot).....Always miss out on the good deals....:(
Danny Spaide Three of them!!!!
Tyler McConner I ordered 4 of them.
Kia Simonson amazon sold at 100, so got 3 for the family
Simon Zeng Once somebody hacks Honeycomb onto it, maybe.
Nakul Nayyar No all out of stock
Joe Fladung How are people saying it's "too late"? Do you realize how many retailers sent theirs back to HP? Theyre going to be selling them at $100 for weeks...
Wasim Mazahreh Yup from amazon
Orlando Gonzalez Ordered one from B&N this morning around 5am. Got a confirmation email of the order but still waiting for the confirmed shipment email. Website shows out of stock now.
Erick Lopez-Villa are there gunna be any more?
Johnny Cababe Im waiting for those commies at amazon to lower their prices. They are still selling at regular prices!
Tony Abiama Juan, hit me up man... Can I snag one from u for a flat $200?
Juan Cuara I literally got 4 going to sell them for $250 each now
Brett Bristow I certainly did.
Carlos Garza Idiot? A $100 tablet that can surf the web and check email? That's a steal, even if there aren't anymore updates!
Anthony Tyson Yep. 2 32gb version. One for me. One for my brother.
Devonne Illusive Man Akinyele I got one from Barnes & Noble website at 1am this morning
Justin Alan Smith Why get one? Be an idiot and buy 5.
Tommy D Thompson Got a 32GB for $136
Nick Naylor Sure did
Romy Rangama I Don't own a US credit card so I couldn't order -_-'
Matthew Gonzales Landry Sold out or sent back to HP GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
Nick Kalman Have an iPad 2 kind of all tablets.
Michael Alfonso Ho I was able to get two from B&N.
Joseph Lee I wish i got one,but how...
Kenny Kemp All sold out everywhere
Clancy Johnston I w a s too slow :(
Eko Budi Prasetio Why should I have to buy HP Touch Pad when I got HTC Flyer.
Jeremy Abad Has anybody put Honeycomb on the touch pad?
Tim Killian I was too slow lol. Staples had the 16GB one for $49!
Micah Madru All sold out!
Patrick Chao They were 100$ buddy
Aldo GaGaism i would if only HP sales them in Indonesia ! the best thing to get market share for marginal like WebOS is start in emerging market, try Indonesia !
Brandon Thompson Nope...have an iPad 2!
Rosalee Lugo Yes! We bought 3!
Myron Black cause android kicked ass and if u going to spend 400 buy a fuckin laptop
Ruben Casillas Jr Took 4 hours but yes I got a 32GB model.
Moaz Bambi ALL websites that had this offer accept only a perverted American-issued Credit card ONLY... so, no and F that!!!
Mathew Kennedy Bought 2.

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