The accidental userbase
HP cited poor adoption rates of the TouchPad as part of their reasoning for taking webOS hardware out back and shooting it dead. Shortly thereafter, HP issued the order to begin the firesale on the TouchPad, offering the webOS tablet for as little as $100 with the hope of clearing out the hundreds of thousands of TouchPads still in stock.
Since then, every retailer that’s reduced their pricing has seen their stock sell out in a matter of hours. Lines formed at Best Buy early in the morning when they announced their intention to sell the TouchPads they had left. The same happened at Harvey Norman in Australia. Even HP.com has been sold out for days, and they make made the TouchPad!
Meanwhile, webOS buzz and traffic has gone through the roof. You may have noticed that the PreCentral blog has been having difficulties – our server’s having trouble coping with the massive load (we’re working on it, we promise). The PreCentral Forums (which thankfully are on a more resilient server) have seen similarly astounding traffic. Last night the forums set a new record for simultaneous users – more than 10,000 – with traffic staying high through the weekend and into today. Heck, we had nearly a thousand new members join yesterday alone, the most we’ve seen since late 2009.
Additionally, developers are reporting that their app sales are up. Way up. Geoff Gauchet, the developer behind foursquare, neato!, and more posted on his development blog that downloads of his apps have seen a significant jump. Gauchet is not alone – a number of webOS developers have seen their app downloads spike over the weekend. The big question going forward (at least in the short term) is how where downloads will level off. As Gauchet noted, foursquare for webOS is now installed on 70% more TouchPads than HP Veer smartphones, so there’s a good chance we’ll see an elevation in download counts that will persist for some time, even without new webOS hardware hitting any time soon.
Congratulations, HP, you finally got that webOS userbase you always wanted. With TouchPads selling out at retailers across the globe, the TouchPad has likely solidified its position as the number two tablet behind the iPad. And all it took was some crazy cutthroat pricing and the threat of these devices never existing again.