When most manufacturers fire-sale price a discontinued item, the intention is to sell out of that item so they do not have to carry further inventory of it and pay for storage costs on that inventory. Which is why it’s a bit puzzling that, just a week or so after discontinuing and fire-selling the TouchPad, HP has announced it is actually making more of them to meet consumer demand.

Although the $99 fire sale pricing is not guaranteed, there’s no indication of how large this run will actually be, and there will be strict per-customer limits to prevent mass Ebaying, this is still a pretty significant move. Perhaps WebOS is not so dead after all?

It’s interesting to consider the number of TouchPads that have been moved at those fire-sale prices. There’s a sort of chicken-or-egg effect concerning number of tablets and number of available apps: without lots of devices out there, developers won’t find it worth their time to develop for a platform—but without lots of apps, consumers won’t find the platform attractive to buy.

HP might have failed to capture the market it wanted at full price, but given the huge quantity of WebOS tablets that have just hit the market, developers might suddenly start paying attention—which could make more people want to buy a WebOS device. Is WebOS going to lurch back from the grave?

Small wonder that rumor has it Samsung might be interested in taking WebOS off HP’s hands.


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