Huge demand for the HP touchpad at it’s heavily reduced prices caused websites of many huge retailers to buckle under the strain, with thousands of frustrated customers either unable to get on the websites, or unable to complete their purchase.
HP had to stop and rethink their entire thought process over the dead tablet, and have now decided that there will be a further production run, of up to 500,000 units. To me, that says the Touchpad is actually far from dead, why commit to manufacturing half a million units of a device that they are making a loss on unless you have a bigger plan? Of course at the moment, it’s not technically alive either, rather it’s undead. A zombie in the tablet world.
I stand by my original hunch, this is their strategy to do some serious market penetration – the Touchpad quickly took the throne as the number 2 selling tablet device in a matter of days. HP may be making a loss on the hardware, but with it’s own App Catalog growing quickly and offering applications both free and paid-for, could this revenue subsidise the losses they are making?
With the huge demand for the Touchpads, it caused a headache for many retailers – Amazon took a number of orders and subsequently cancelled them without hesitation or warning. A similar situation happened at Comet, and also at Insight.
Personally, I had three orders placed, with three different retailers – Comet, Insight and John Lewis. After queuing for 40 minutes to be allowed onto their website, Comet finally accepted an order and confirmed it to me on screen. I thought that meant I had secured an elusive Touchpad, however it wouldn’t be that simple. They contacted me a few days after receiving my order saying that they’d oversold and would I mind waiting for more stock. I was happy to oblige as this mean’t I would definitely be getting one. A day after this, I received an email saying my order had been cancelled. Very frustrating.
Fortunately, at this time, there was still rumours of stock at other retailers, so I turned to InsightUK – they happily took my money and promised delivery the next day. When I didn’t receive it as promised, I picked up the phone and they told me there were still some orders waiting to go out, so again, I waited patiently. Another day passed and I called again, this time I spoke with a Corporate Accounts Manager called Gio. He looked into it and saw that although I had an order confirmed, there was no stock to fulfil it. He refunded my money, and offered little more than a half-hearted apology. So, a second national retailer had let me down too. I later heard they were selling 16GB Touchpad’s for £150 + Vat and delivery, not so much as a call asking if I were interested.
Finally, I heard there was stock coming to John Lewis, and sure enough, their website had some listed – I placed an order, made a payment and waited patiently for confirmation of my order. What I received instead was a message informing me there was no longer any stock and my order was being cancelled.
What is it about retailers and their estimation of stock levels? Surely, if you have 1000 units in stock, you only sell 1000 units on your website.
My confidence is severely dented when dealing with any of these retailers now, so unfortunately for Comet, John Lewis and Insight, they will not have my custom in future. Not that they will care of course.
I eventually turned to eBay, as even at double the new RRP, I thought it would be worth the price, and I’m glad I did. With Android for the Touchpad progressing nicely, even if WebOS disappears from existence, I’m sure the hardware will have a use.
Did you manage to get a Touchpad for yourself through normal channels? Did you purchase more than one and sell on for a profit, or did you turn to eBay and pay over RRP to get one? Comment and let me know.