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August 17, 2011

HP TouchPad Collecting Dust on Best Buy Shelves: Report

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

When Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) chopped $100 off the price of the TouchPad just a month after it launched, analysts began to speculate that the computer giant's first attempt at a tablet device wasn't going as well as planned. Apparently, the situation is much worse than we thought.

An unnamed source told All Things Digital that retail giant Best Buy (News - Alert) has so far sold only 25,000 TouchPads, representing less than 10 percent of its initial inventory. A second source corroborated the claim, but added that the estimate might be “charitable” as it may not include units that were returned to the store for a refund.

The shockingly poor sales figures have angered Best Buy to the point that it has reportedly asked HP to buy back some of the remaining inventory. All Things Digital (News - Alert) was told by sources that a senior level HP executive will travel to Minnesota and meet with Best Buy bigwigs in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

Rich Doherty, head of the analyst firm Envisioneering Group, told the news source that the sales drought is not exclusive to Best Buy. He said that the TouchPad is also collecting dust on the shelves of other retailers, including Wal-Mart, Microcenter and Fry’s.

Doherty believes that the aggressive price promotions have actually diminished interest in the tablet device because consumers are now expecting the price to drop even further.

The meager sales numbers probably don't come as much of a surprise to the TouchPad's many critics, who have complained about the oft-maligned tablet's weight and buggy nature. In addition, critics have pointed to the TouchPad's paltry lineup of applications, especially when compared to the iPad.

“The TouchPad needed either mind-blowing apps or revolutionary hardware to stand out. It has neither,” The Morning News concluded in a review carried on TMCnet.

It will be interesting to see if HP releases sales figures for the TouchPad in its quarterly earnings report tomorrow. Stay tuned to TMC (News - Alert) for more coverage.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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