Last week ended with a new promotion from Best Buy, allowing you to get a $149 32GB HP TouchPad with the purchase of any HP computing system, followed shortly thereafter with the news that HP was out of the final-run TouchPads despite having never directly sold any of that last batch. The natural assumption would have been to assume that we’re not likely to see many more TouchPads become available after that.
Wrong. TigerDirect got a limited stockpile, as did the webOS Developer Program (meh on the first, happy about the second). Today we’re finding out about a new promotion from Wal-Mart that seems pretty similar to what Best Buy is doing: Buy one of eleven HP laptops and get a 32GB TouchPad for $149.99 more!
We can see the light bulbs of anger and disappointment going off over your heads too. We would have called Best Buy a fluke – they love bundles in the big blue box. But the fact that practically the same thing is happening now at Wal-Mart raises red flags. Specifically, the “Wait just a gosh darn minute” red flag. Last week we were told that HP was out of stock of TouchPads, despite having never managed to sell any of the fire sale tablets through normal channels. If you want a TouchPad now you have to buy an HP computer. Our favorite also-ran tablet is being used as a tool to push crappy low-end HP laptops. We can hear the plan from the HP boardroom: “No need to make it available to customers, we’ve already taken the loss on our books, let’s use them as ‘value add-ons’ *snicker* to sell more laptops!” “Brilliant!”