To TouchPad or Not To Touchpad?

Dave Zatz —  August 21, 2011 — 45 Comments

I gotta admit, I was pretty fired up when I first heard TouchPad tablets were dropping to $100. In fact, I was second person into a local Best Buy yesterday with intentions of picking a unit up. Unfortunately, the sales clerk quipped that they aren’t Best Buy Canada and wouldn’t be offering discounted hardware. I was left with the impression that units were headed back to HP, who’ve essentially buried this product and webOS. Yet, given demand and perhaps by working a deal with HP, Best Buy has changed course and will be offering HP’s discounted pricing. Although… they will not be accepting returns on the steeply discontinued TouchPad hardware and inventory is limited.

A $300 – $400 discount on a modern tablet is a heck of a deal. Even one that’s not an iPad and doesn’t provide the most responsive experience. I figured $100 for purely a 10″ capacitive web browsing device would be a great accessory to have around, picking up slack when our iPad is in use. As you can’t really count on continued app development at this point. Related, the inability of the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader to support webOS is a major factor in why I may pass on a purchase today. And apply that saved cash to Amazon’s upcoming tablet. At least until I see some sort of sign that we can run Android on the TouchPad.

Are you in? If so, you can probably avoid the brick & mortar shopping frenzy today and wait until HP.com resumes sales (once the servers are back up). I’m quite certain they’ll continue to clear inventory as efficiently as possible to put this multi-billion dollar debacle behind them.

Postscript: I also swung by Staples late Saturday, who was offering discounted TouchPad pricing, but the place had been picked clean. Not a single sign that the TouchPad had even existed.

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45 responses to To TouchPad or Not To Touchpad?

  1. I’m still planning to pick one up. Just for the heck of it. It’ll be fine as a basic web tablet or a fun hackable hardware project.

    With all the renewed interest in the Touchpad, what are the chances HP will reverse its decision? Yeah, slim to none. Unless this was their plan all along? ;-)

  2. I just nabbed one on bestbuy.com – they reversed the decision last night. No waiting in line!

  3. Michael Burstin August 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

    The HP website mentions that Amazon does have a Kindle app for the Touchpad. Not sure if that exists or is/was planned or not.

    Other thoughts are that it appears as though there already is an effort to get Android running on it. This could be the cheapest route to a fairly high-end Android device.

  4. Michael, yeah there’s a Kindle app. But it sounds somewhat buggy at this point and I assume it won’t get significant updates over time. It’s a bummer the Cloud Reader isn’t universal and requires customization. That probably kills it for webOS.

    Hopefully the Android thing pans out. Assuming it does, but that time I’ll most likely have moved on. Although it’ll be a big win for everyone who took a flyer. I’m hoping for a sleek, affordable ($250ish) Android Amazon tablet. Or maybe a Nook Color 2. I prefer the 7″ form factor. Or maybe what I need is a larger screened phone. Decisions, decisions. :)

  5. Despite the EOL status, platform limitations, and OS variances vs. an iPad, I’m getting 2 for my parents. I think it would be good for them to do video chats, email and general web surfing.

  6. Looks like there’s a webOS EPUB reader called pReader which I’ll be checking out when my TouchPad arrives.

    Ultimately I’ll probably try installing Android or Ubuntu when it’s possible, mostly out of intellectual curiosity. But hopefully it will be possible to restore webOS because I’d like to play with the OS… even if it is doomed.

  7. Had the same luck at BestBuy. Staff were told to pull them before opening Saturday opening- 8 other people were disappointed including 7 BestBuy staff members, who wanted one for themselves. They were being sent back to HP. Went to Staples next door all 17 in stock were being sold as we walked in some people with 2-5 possibly full-time ebayers. My daughter was upset. Checked the HP website when it worked and found this morning that16GB are sold out on HP’s website, the 32GB can be had for $149 still not bad if you intend to use it for video,surfing, and reading. It is slowing down. Good luck! http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewStandardCatalog-Browse?CatalogCategoryID=dMgQ7habWagAAAEveclKiY4n

  8. I’m with you Dave. 100 bucks is still a 100 bucks and I too am waiting for the Amazon tablet. So I’ll bank that and apply it to Amazon when the time comes.

  9. Work is already underway to port android to the touchpad. It looks like this is actually going to happen.

    http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?t=3327

  10. I’d still buy one, but BB online and in store says not stock, I wonder where they have all gone. Will they start to hit the bay at 200$ now?

  11. I ordered the 32gig one on hp.com using the 30 off coupon. For basic web browsing and kindle reading it should be great and I don’t know the next time I will be able to get a tablet for under 150. Which is how much I want to pay since I still feel like tablets are not really usable/are more toys then useful

  12. Looked like a Black Friday line at my local Best Buy. I thought I’d give it a shot but they already handed out tickets for them starting at the beginning of the line till they were gone.

  13. “Work is already underway to port android to the touchpad. It looks like this is actually going to happen. http://rootzwiki.com/showthread.php?t=3327

    I’m not sure I’d trust Dirk Nowitzki’s website to help me port android to the touchpad. Dude has got mad hoop skillz, but I don’t know that would help him as a programmer.

    (I’m sorry. It’s not a very good joke. But I just see that domain name, and I think “Dirk!” Pardon the eccentricity. I already miss the next lost season of the NBA.)

  14. I stopped by walmart early yesterday morning. All they had was 32gb left and it was full price. I walked away and met up with my wife in another part of the store. She said I should just go pick one up and then price match if they drop in price. I went back and there were 3 people in line and 4 touchpads left. unfortunately the person in front of me bought 2 :(

    I then went to Staples and they were insisting that they were not liquidating the stock and the 32gb were still full price. I picked one up. I called after lunch and they said that the price was dropped but that they were out of stock. I went back and they matched the price ($150). The manager actually smiled when she saw me. She said I was the smart one b/c they had dozens of people in before me that asked about the touchpad but didn’t pick one up when they were told it was full price. She said they weren’t told to mark it down till about 20 minutes after I left and they sold out quickly.

  15. Michael Burstin August 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    http://forums.precentral.net/other-tablets/292282-android-hp-touchpad.html has some more info about potential Android port. Some even mention dual-boot, so you would be able to run both depending on how you feel.

    Also, HP was out yesterday, had them back in stock this morning. My guess is that may repeat for a few days with more than a few stores, so I would check back often.

  16. I bought two. It’s a ridiculous steal for that hardware at that price. Even if it ends up just being used for browsing, video chat, reading, etc. it’s still an awesome deal. That’s what I use my Nook Color for and that thing cost $220. Also, my 2-year old is always asking for the Nook, I fully intend to let her play with the Touchpad. Why not, right?

  17. Went to Walmart at 5:30 yesterday morning (I wake up early) and they were sold out of 16gb ones, but had about 8 32gb ones. The tag on the devices was full price, but I talked to the sales person who said that 6 people had already come in that morning and bought one at the reduced price. So I ended up with a 32gb one. So far I really like it. I’m using pReader for ePub files and a ComicShelfHD for comic books and I already like it better than my first gen nook. I also loaded up a bunch of kid shows and plan on using it to replace the aging and partially broken DVD players in the car. Even if there is no further software development, it does the basics I want to use it for well and was well worth the $150.

  18. Picked up the 16GB for $90 shipped on HP.com. To me, WebOS is a draw. I have always liked it more than the others but the hardware was a joke. This might not be cutting edge hardware but after you overclock it, it should scream well enough.

    A web browsing, book reading, picture viewing tablet for less than $100? A 10″ digital photo frame would cost more.

    It will also serve as an audition for how I like using a tablet and if an iPad 3 would be a worthy purchase (assuming the tales of webOS’ demise are not greatly exaggerated).

  19. I was really hoping to snag one of these. I, too, was at a Best Buy right at open and was instantly denied. Even though I already have an iPad, it will be great to have around the house. I plan on getting 2.

  20. It sounds like there’s a boatload more of these to come out of the woodwork this week in retail channels. A lot of corporate offices are closed over the weekend. Expect another flood starting Monday.

    I would definitely keep an eye on the HP.com order pages as they’ll probably have huge truckloads of inventory still coming in from all over the place.

    I have a feeling Best Buy returned most of their inventory already. It looks like most stores only had 20 Touchpads at most. That only accounts for about 20k of the over 200k ipads that Best Buy had at one point. It didn’t seem like they sold all that many off the best buy website.

  21. It’s tempting, but it’s also a product with a very short shelf life. Imagine if you had a computer that only ran IE6, wouldn’t sync with anything else. That’s what I think a TouchPad will be in 18 months. In contrast, we have an original iPod Touch that can do nearly everything that the latest models can do.

    Up until last week, one thing I’ve admired about HP is the level of support they provide for older products. For example, for most HP printers, you can get ink and drivers for years. But since the announcement, I think those days are over.

  22. I’m fairly certain that webos is not going to die (having been near death SEVERAL times already) and someone will further develop for it and if an established company comes around to pick it up it will most likely receive some form of maintenance update in the future. Now the DEV community won’t be putting a lot of effort into the platform until a new white night comes around.

  23. @Greg Glockner , Even if its the equivalent of being stuck on ie6 for the next two years, its still worth it. ie6 is still something like 30 some percent of all browsers on the web and it can still load most everything one would need. If your buying a tablet for basic email/browsing/watching videos/reading I dont know how you can beat the touchpad for $100. It will do over 80% or more of the exact same things a brand new iPad 2 will do for under 100

  24. For only $100, 18 months of use would be superb. I wish I had known about this earlier I would have tried to pick one up from BestBuy.

  25. meh – the touchpad has only one button so they will have to do some button on the screen thing and some kernel just for this hardware. For those buying it for the cheap web browser or ereader it makes sense but as for android I am buying a pandigital Planet for 150$ now and in 2 years will likely be buying something 4 times as powerful for 150$.

  26. I have Nook Color, iPad 2, and I still ordered 32GB Touchpad from OfficeDepot (hasn’t shipped yet, so who knows if I’ll get it). Can’t really go wrong with a $150 tablet.

    TIMN has a very nice article on why $99/$149 Touchpad has become such a phenomenon — http://thisismynext.com/2011/08/22/hp-touchpad-99-in-your-words/

    P.S. The only thing I regret is that US doesn’t have a sale on 64GB 1.5 GHz version (that thing isn’t even on HP’s site anymore).

  27. As others have said, never mind that it’s not an iPad, and never mind that it’s EOL’d. It’s a $100-150 tablet.

    I went to Wal*Mart on Saturday afternoon and the guy said “Nope, we sold out fast this morning, and I’ve been getting a phone call every five minutes.” On my way out of the store, I called Best Buy, and got a helpful sales clerk who said “I just have a few left!” I bought two. She wouldn’t put a hold on them, so I gave her a credit card number and “bought” them over the phone, then went to pick them up. They only had the 32GB units left, so I bought those. $150 is still a great deal.

    I’ve liked WebOS all along, so this was an easy call for me — even though I have an iPad 2. It’ll make a great secondary browsing device, movie watcher, etc. After the inventory’s gone, I can probably sell the second for a little more than $150 to help cover the cost of the first, but I’ve got a couple of friends contemplating it, and I’ll just charge them what I paid.

    If the Android project pans out, so much the better.

  28. I’m trying not to gloat about the whole debacle.

    Much.

  29. “I’m trying not to gloat about the whole debacle.”

    Gloat? The whole thing is a bit of tragedy, not an opportunity for gloating.

    WebOS devices seemed to have a lot of potential if they’d ever gotten their act together. It’s a loss for everyone.

  30. I’m with Chucky… Gloating over WebOS’s very likely demise is strange. HP really screwed up with releasing post-Palm devices (heck, Pre 3 isn’t in the US yet), but that’s likely because Leo is an enterprise guy and didn’t care about phones/tablets. He’s willing to get rid of a #1 PC business, so he’s clearly not a person willing to stick it out long term (like Microsoft did with first Xbox).

    It really IS a tradegy because pretty there are so many things HP could/should have done different. If latest rumors about Amazon’s strategy are correct, they will not fall into the same trap.

  31. Mike Charkowski August 22, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Just to confirm what was said earlier, the Kindle app is there. There might be some bugs, but I didn’t find them. I still find reading on a bright LCD screen to be useless (love my Nook STR), but the Kindle app certainly seemed nice.

    I’m a longtime WebOS lover, and though I’ve had to give it up on my phone, it’s nice to have it on a tablet. Despite the fact that I think HP’s decision to lose the gesture area was a mistake, the OS is still way more intuitive than most everything else on the market. Though, I must admit I do like Blackberry’s PlayBook OS, it’s probably only because they ripped so much off of WebOS.

    There are still lots of great apps for it and a really good developer community. As long as HP licenses or sells the OS off within the next couple of months, I think it can still succeed. Boy would I love to see Samsung pick it up.

    Oh, and an unexpected surprise for me (though I suspect it’ll be closed soon), Hulu works just fine.

  32. I think it *is* a tragedy that this well designed UI has been lost, but lets be clear its not all HP’s fault. All of the freezing and poor multitasking and other issues that have existed with ALL WebOS devices are entirely Palm’s making, and cannot all be laid at hardware’s feet:

    http://www.marco.org/2011/08/19/rose-colored-glasses

    Certainly you might ask what the F HP was thinking, spending a billion dollars one minute, then losing interest the next. We all assumed they’d have a little more staying power.

    That said, it isn’t a given they would have been successful even if they had shown more fortitude. I certainly wasn’t hopeful.

    I *still* think Android makers will hang in there and will eventually manage to grab some marketshare. I’d say this doesn’t bode well for the BlackBerry tablet though…

  33. I’m gloating because I basically predicted this is what would happen with WebOS before it even released, because of Palm’s history. It just took longer than I thought because HP buying them out prolonged the death, but it made it more spectacular than I expected.

    And also because making said prediction while I was employed by Sling Media is what got me fired. So I have some smug satisfaction to seeing even my worst case scenario prediction for Web OS outdone, proving I was right all along even if the suits didn’t like it. Speaking an unpopular truth isn’t always good for the career.

    I was a long time, over a decade, PalmOS user. I loved Palm, but after they cried wolf so many times I just saw them screwing up Web OS too. They couldn’t manage a product launch to save their lives – literally as far as the business went it seems. They launched the Pre late and only on Sprint, with too long an exclusivity period. At the time Sprint was #3 and bleeding customers – instead of the Pre helping Sprint, Sprint hurt the Pre. By the time it hit Verizon they had Droid and didn’t care about Web OS at all and never marketed it.

    And at that point Sprint stabbed Web OS in the back by dropping marketing and marketing Android instead. Once Android was established as ‘the other smartphone’ (to iPhone, of course), Web OS was doomed to be a minor player. Without carrier support for sales and marketing it was *never* going to work. And the longer it languished, the farther behind it got in apps, market share, and mind share. HP would have needed to spend a LOT on marketing to jump start things – a cost they were apparently unwilling to bear. Not to mention they screwed up their own product launches – the Touchpad launched to poor reviews due to bugs, the Pre 3 took forever to release and then only in limited fashion, and the Veer seems to have bombed. Most of the reviews I’ve seen are “It is a nice phone, but the keyboard is too small.”

    I think Web OS is a good OS, and the Pre was even decent HW, but it was all too little, too late, and too bungled to make it. Palm had a window of opportunity. They needed to launch big *before* Android 2.0 and the Droid. Before the Droid hit Verizon with Android 2.0 Android was an also-ran itself. Lots of potential, but not there yet. iOS was big, and the market was looking for the ‘other’ OS to compete with it. Web OS could’ve been that OS. Palm made bad decisions when launching the Pre & WebOS, and after that Web OS was pretty much doomed.

    I do not expect anyone else to pick up WebOS. HP may end up sticking it on printers and other appliances, but I don’t see anyone else being enough of a sucker to throw good money after bad. If HP couldn’t make it work with what they spent on it, who else is going to make the bet they can do better against iOS and Android? Why buy a two time flop? They can go with a proven success like Android, or an up and coming platform, which already has more support than Web OS – Windows Phone.

    If HP puts Web OS, and the patents behind it, on the market I think Google might buy it just for the patents. Alternatively Apple or Microsoft, or a coalition like the one that bought the Nortel patents, may grab it to use against Android. But in either case the OS itself would be a goner, they’d just want the patents and maybe to pick Web OS apart for any pieces useful in Android, iOS, WP, etc.

    Web OS is dead, and I’m actually glad to see it go – good OS or not. There isn’t enough market to support more than three or four OSes on a big scale. iOS and Android will keep the top spots. The question now is if RIM can make a go of their QNX OS and hold on to number three, or if Windows Phone will manage to get traction once Nokia’s WP efforts come to market. I think it is RIM’s too lose – but right now they seem to be trying hard to do so.

    Samsung isn’t going to bite. They’re very successful with Android, and even if Google buying Motorola scared them off, their own in-house Bada is more successful than Web OS. They’ve sold more Bada phones than Web OS ever did. They’d just boost Bada development and launch it in more markets.

    HP could throw Web OS to the open source community, but I doubt it. That would cost them money, they’d rather get what they can from the remains by licensing or selling it off.

  34. Glenn, Android already has about 1/3 of the worldwide tablet market, iOS effectively has the other 2/3. (WebOS, QNX, Windows, etc., all have very small shares.) Android is growing its share much faster than iOS – a year ago it had low single-digit share and iOS had the majority. Android is already the #2 tablet platform by a huge margin, and it is eating away at iOS’s lead. They probably won’t break even this year, but they might in 2012.

    As in phones it is a matter of numbers. There are more and more Android tablets hitting the market. And the death of Web OS may well help – people looking for a non-iOS tablet just lost Web OS as an option, which effectively leaves Android and RIM’s QNX for now.

  35. The nits at B&N canceled my order. You have to wonder about their inventory system…

    Ah well, the hunt is on.

  36. @Mega,

    I know that’s the number that is conventionally thrown around, but I don’t buy it. I think shipments != market share. Here’s one analysis from an admittedly biased source:

    http://daringfireball.net/2011/07/ipad_dominance

    Feel free to attack the methodology. Since the Android tablets are still relatively new, I thought it might be interesting to redo the numbers.

    The latest post from Larry Page on 8-15-2011 is that Android has surpassed 150M device activations. If we look at:

    http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html

    we can see that 1.3% of Android devices are using 3.0 or above, which we can use as a proxy for tablets. 150M x 1.3% = 1.95M.

    Thru the quarter ending in June Apple had sold 28.73 million iPads, almost all of which are in customers hands given we only recently got to 48-hour delivery and no morning lines. I don’t know of a more recent number, though with 9.25 million in the last quarter if we had to guess a number for mid-August you’d think it would be at least another 4 million. So lets call it 32.73 million.

    If those are the numbers, Android has 1.95 / (1.95 + 32.73) = 5.6%. Nowhere near the 1/3rd you’re quoting.

    Similarly, if we take the X-Large screen sizes from:

    http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/screens.html

    which represent the 7″ and larger screens, e.g. tablets (yes I’m ignoring the just cancelled Streak), it now has 1.2%, not that far off the 1.3% above.

    I don’t think Android currently has ANYWHERE NEAR a third of the tablet market.

    Not saying they won’t get some eventually, but they’re not there now.

  37. Are any tablets besides the Ipad selling in huge volumes?

    I’m not even sure the Motorola Xoom broke a million tablets in sales after all these months.

    I think that speaks a lot about the market not being ready for another tablet besides the Ipad. The app ecosystem is far more built out for apple than most of the competitors too.

    Personally I think HP should have shot for lower sales with the first gen tablet devices to test the waters and get the bugs worked out. Then used the second gen to carve out some real marketshare after the apps had been developed.

  38. “If those are the numbers, Android has 1.95 / (1.95 + 32.73) = 5.6%. Nowhere near the 1/3rd you’re quoting.”

    And add to that factoid the concept that Google has still never really shipped an OS of any kind that just works for the consumer. They’ve earned their “autistic” reputation, and that will remain until they prove otherwise.

    So I’m an Android skeptic, though I’d be happy to eventually have my skepticism overcome. And in such a situation, I was rooting for WebOS to potentially come in as the fabled second mobile platform if Google can’t deliver, which is why I see this as a minor tragedy. Hell, I’m rooting for Microsoft too. I don’t like where Cupertino is going, and I want alternatives.

  39. Glenn, market share != installed base. You’re citing installed base, I cited market share. Market share is *new* sales. Apple had a long head start, and has a major lead in installed base. But Android tablet sales are growing faster than iPad now, with more and more tablets shipping. The last reported figured I saw were than ~1/3 of new tablet sales, globally, were Android. But until Android has >50% iPad will continue to extend its lead in installed base. http://giz.lv/njyE4w

    The same thing happened in phones – iPhone still has more installed base I believe, despite Android having the lead in market share. Up over 60% in the US now from figures I saw last night. Android will take the lead in smartphone installed base too (if they haven’t already and I just missed it), since they sell more than iPhone now.

    BTW, I think your numbers are low. Asus alone reports shipping 400,000 tablets a month (basically the Transformer), and has been increasing the rate. They anticipate shipping 4-4.5 million in the second half of the year. http://giz.lv/r12s9v That’s just Asus with one model of Android tablet so far – they have the Slider which is just hitting, but isn’t significant yet. The second best selling Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 I believe, and it still hasn’t hit the market in much of the world. Then you have the Motorola Xoom, the Toshiba Thrive, the LG/T-Mobile G-Slate, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 and lots more – Acer, Dell, etc. The Transformer alone has sold more than a million units – did so in July as I recall. I believe the Xoom sold over 500,000, and the Tab is supposed to have done better than that. So just there it is over 2 million.

    And the floodgates are just opening. Lenovo has the ThinkPad Tablet coming too, Asus has the Slider and the PadPhone duo – and next gen Transformer, Samsung has the Tab 8.9 and 7.3, and there are lots of others coming. There will be a huge number of Android tablets on the market by the end of the year, in three major size categories – 7, 9, and 10 inch, with a variety of features, price points, etc.

    Keep in mind Android Tablets, proper, haven’t been on the market for long. They’ve experienced a massive ramp in a short time.

    Sparced – Yes, the best selling Android tablet is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and they’ve shipped over a million of those according to Asus, and continue to ramp up shipment rates due to high demand. Asus has basically been selling them as fast as they can make them, for the first month or two prices were *above* MSRP because demand outstripped supply. Samsung has sold a lot of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 too.

    The Xoom, while the first tablet, actually never sold very well. Being first it had some issues, most of which have finally been resolved by updates, but it also had a high price and is kind of bulky.

    Chucky – Android is hardly ‘autistic’. It dominates the global smartphone market now for a reason – people like it. People pick it over the iPhone every day on AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers world wide. The old argument that people only bought Android because they couldn’t get iPhone have proved to be BS. Same for WebOS – the market completely ignored it in favor of Android and iOS.

    I see people every day with Android phones – and I mean complete non-geeks, not just technophiles. My fiancee, a nurse, got a Droid by choice not long after it launched. Without my prompting, BTW. I run into people at the bar with Android phones as often as iPhones.

    Android is very easy to use, especially the latest releases, and some of the vendor UIs make it even easier. HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz are actually pretty solid enhancements. Android was pretty clunky in the 1.x days, no question. But things changed a lot with 2.0, and now with 2.2.x Froyo & 2.3.x Gingerbread it is much improved even beyond 2.0. Honeycomb 3.x is another beast entirely, and is really very slick. Ice Cream Sandwich, which will bring it all together, looks to be another huge step forward.

    Android is polished enough that even Apple has been copying some of its features in recent updates to iOS.

    WebOS never had a chance after the initial launch was flubbed. Once they screwed that pooch everything else as too little, too late. It didn’t matter how nice the OS was.

  40. “WebOS never had a chance after the initial launch was flubbed. Once they screwed that pooch everything else as too little, too late. It didn’t matter how nice the OS was.”

    There’s a place where I disagree with you. HP could’ve thrown money at it for a while, just like Google has with Android after failures.

    Building platforms is hard, but the rewards can be great if you’re in the right place at the right time. The future of mobile OS’s is still unsettled, and its a big market. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all problematic and vulnerable there at the moment.

    If I were running HP, I’d have kept throwing money at WebOS as long as there was something there, even if the bad launch meant a year or more of stormy weather. The time is right for building platforms.

  41. Mega,

    Point taken. I agree that the important TREND is the rate at which consumers are buying the things. If something is selling out like the iPad and apparently the Asus Transformer then shipment rate can proxy for consumer sales. I actually do think the docking form factor of the Transformer is innovative and interesting (sorry, but touchscreen keyboards suck), so I’m encouraged by the sales numbers.

    Asus is saying they might sell 2 million by the end of the year. They started selling them in early April. That would be about 9 months of availability.

    How many iPads might Apple sell in that timeframe? If we exclude the first year of the iPad’s availability from April 2010, we so far only have numbers for the quarter ending in June. 9.25 Million. Horace Deidu is predicting 10.5 Million this quarter, so I’ll take that as a good estimate. How many for the final quarter which will include Christmas sales? Let’s say 12 Million just to come up with a number. That would be 31.75 Million for that same 9 months, or about 15 times the Transformer’s numbers.

    I do assume that Android sales are accelerating, and certainly the lower prices ($399 for the Transformer, though I’d want the dock too) have to help.

    Personally I want competition for the iPad. I’m happy enough living in Apple’s ecosystem but without being pushed they won’t do some of the things I want, progress will slow, prices will stay high, etc. And its clear so far that Android is the only possible alternative. WebOS is now dead (yeah, I know HP hasn’t admitted that yet). The RIM product doesn’t seem to be doing anything, though I’m STILL not completely counting them out given their diminishing but still rabid base.

    I do think Windows 8 tablets have a chance, but we’ll have to wait and see. If there are transformer style tablets available, the weight and battery life and price are acceptable, and the software up and down the line is touch friendly (meaning not just the OS but also the ARM ports of various apps), its got a shot. Too early to say yet.

    Why hasn’t anybody tried a kindle/blackberry style tablet yet, e.g. one with a 7″ screen so its not too wide for thumb typing on a physical keyboard? No, I’m not sure its going to work well either but hey, people, you have to try things rather than just slavishly copying what Apple did. That might be one lesson from the WebOS debacle (basically just a clone that sold for the same price but wasn’t quite as good).

  42. @Chucky,

    I’m not sure that HP would have been successful even if they’d done all of the things we all think they should have done.

    BUT

    What the fuck? Why did they buy the damn thing if they weren’t serious? A billion dollars?

    I assumed they were going to
    (a) advertise it heavily. I mean c’mon, there are iPad ads on every five minutes. What, you hadn’t noticed?
    (b) do a better job with their ads. See (a).
    (c) Have some damn stamina–you thought you were just going to push the product out and it would be perfect immediately? Had you seen any previous Palm products?
    (d) do SOMETHING with WebOS on PCs to goose things a bit, letting WebOS apps run on their touchscreen computers say.
    (e) BUY some damn developers. You know like Microsoft has done with Windows Phone? Spend a little cash to make sure you have at least the entry level applications? (f) do SOMETHING to develop an ecosystem, you know like Apple has with iTunes? What, you didn’t think it mattered for tablets where people mostly consume media? Partner is probably the only thing in their DNA, but they didn’t even do that.
    (g) um hello? printer integration? camera sync? something? you know those other devices HP sells?

    I don’t get what they thought they were doing. Makes you wonder if there’s anybody home.

  43. Glenn – Minor correction, Asus is saying they plan to ship 4-4.5 million Android tablets in the second half of 2011. That’s on top of those they’ve shipped since April. Shipments at the end of May were at around 400,000 per month. Asus was reportedly pushing suppliers to provide components for at least 400,000-500,000 a month at that point. All of their comments were that they were ramping up production as fast as they could to meet demand. It was only in July that online prices for the Transformer and it’s dock dropped down to MSRP, and then below – as is the norm for most CE products online. I know, I was watching closely since I’ve been planning to buy one.

    Right now I’m holding off though, there are strong indications that the second generation Transformer, with NVidia’s quad-core ‘Kal El’ CPU, will hit in October. And Asus has also confirmed they intend to ship the PadPhone phone+tablet device later this year, running Ice Cream Sandwich (and it seems likely the Transformer 2 will run ICS as well). So I think I’ll hold out a little while longer as both very much interest me.

    The iPad will remain the single best selling tablet for a long time yet, just as the iPhone is the single best selling smartphone model/family. Since there are many more Android devices, even with a larger market share no single device sells more than Apple. Which is great for Apple, of course.

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