Touchpad Price Slash Could Mean Tablet War

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HP’s decision to cut the US price of the webOS Touchpad could spark a tablet price war with Android

Hewlett Packard has slashed the price of the Touchpad tablet by $100 (£62) in the US, sparking speculation the tablet market is edging towards a price war.

After a series of temporary price reductions of up to $100 last week in an effort to improve sales it has now permanently cut the price of 16GB and 32GB models by $100. That means a 16GB model registers at $399 (£246).

An HP spokeswoman told eWEEK Europe the company has not yet confirmed a similar price reduction in the UK at the time of writing. However, Touchpad prices have reportedly been reduced in Canada and Australia – even though it is not due for release in the latter until Monday 15 August.

A 16GB Touchpad currently retails in the UK for around £399.

On the brink?

The new US price undercuts the market-leading iPad2 by $100. But Apple’s slice of the market is so great that others are forced to scrap for the leftovers and the Touchpad, which runs the webOS operating system HP gained in the Palm acquisition, faces stiff competition from the sheer volume of Android devices on the market.

As such, the Touchpad price reduction could be the first shot in the price war that has looked more likely with every new tablet launch and it is also possible HP could have one eye on Apple’s imminent release of the iPad 3.

With the iPad3 expected in the autumn HP will want to maximise sales now rather than try to be heard above the inevitable hysteria surrounding a new Apple device.

A device with potential

The Touchpad has received mixed reviews but eWEEK Europe UK thought it had potential on first glance – if not in direct comparison with the iPad, then certainly against the rest of the market. And HP has pushed an over-the-air update to tweak many of the issues cited by reviewers upon the tablet’s initial release.

Meanwhile, Apple has secured a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, which only launched in the UK last week, forcing Samsung to withdraw the model from sale in all of the European Union countries, except the Netherlands. Vodafone UK has already withdrawn the Tab from sale.

Acer founder Stan Shih was quoted by Digitimes as saying that the ultrabooks and tablets were just a fad, dismissing them as short-term phenomena.

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