How many users are we talking about? HP hasn’t broken out sales figures, but admitted it “wasn’t close to hitting its targets” — which were, analysts say, three to five million tablets by year’s end. We know that Best Buy sold 25,000 (less than 10% of its inventory), and HP was forced to slash the price by $100.
Even supposing the company has sold 100,000 TouchPads worldwide so far — a generous estimate — that would be an incredibly small number for a device that was launched with a massive advertising campaign from a major manufacturer six weeks ago.
Compare that to the TouchPad’s obvious competitor: One million iPads were sold in the first 28 days, and two million in the first two months. Now there are about 9 million iPads sold every quarter.
It isn’t just that the TouchPad is a flawed tablet, though clearly it is, or that launching a new tablet is an incredibly costly activity (HP’s WebOS division spent $336 million last quarter, most of that on the TouchPad launch).
It’s that the iPad is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
A survey released yesterday by equity firm Robert W Baird, reported by CNET, asked more than 1,100 potential tablet purchasers what devices they were interested in. An overwhelming 94.5% said the iPad. Ironically, the TouchPad was in second place at 10.3%.
More likely, one of the legions of copycat Android tablet makers will throw in the towel first. It would take a brave soul to compete with Apple in the face of such continued consumer rejection of any tablet that isn’t the iPad. It’s starting to look like the tablet wars will be a far shorter affair than expected.