HP is playing for keeps in the tablet market. Today you can find the TouchPad available on Woot.com (new, not refurbed) for a pricepoint lower than any other major tablet on the market today. They also pushed out a campaign to take $100 off any TouchPad purchase through HP shopping, Best Buy, Amazon.com, basically all retailers carrying the device.
Is this an act of desperation to clear out inventory or a savvy strategic move?
I think this is a mix of both. HP realizes that without people using their products today, there will be no market for them tomorrow. The success of players like Acer’s Iconia Tab (lowest priced Honeycomb tablet) shows that in the battle for second place in the tablet market, price matters more than speeds and feeds. So they are buying their way into the tablet market, forcing consumers to reconsider the TouchPad experience.
This is a wonderful example where t
he acquisition of Palm by HP is a good thing. Palm’s financial position made it impossible for them to buy their way into the lives of customers in an effort to grow share of the WebOS experience. HP has much deeper pockets, pockets lined with ink stains, that enable this type of strategy to be deployed without risking the company’s survival.
This move should drive up sales in the short term (though as of 2:30AM PST, the TouchPad hadn’t sold out on Woot yet, a good measure of market demand and interest) but HP still has to fix the user experience issues reported by the early adopters. I’m confident that by leveraging the OverTheAir update capabilities of the WebOS, consumers will wake up to new experiences on a regular basis. The challenge HP faces is ensuring these new experiences do more than satisfy the complaints and truly deliver delight if they want to create the demand for the next generation WebOS Tablet experience.
Our experience analytics platform here at Argus Insights helped us to anticipate what HP had to get right with the TouchPad and to validate that for the first users, they missed the market. If you’d like to understand where the Tablet experience is ripe for disruption, give us a call!