Blog Post

Consumers Taking Hands-Off Approach To HP’s TouchPad At Best Buy

Apparently premium placement at the nation’s most ubiquitous consumer electronics store isn’t enough to boost demand. Best Buy is sitting on an amazing number of unsold HP (NYSE: HPQ) TouchPads, according to a report, in what would be a very bad sign for the fledgling WebOS tablet.

HP tried to put the TouchPad in as good a spot as possible on its launch day, occupying the center of a redesigned section of Best Buy that focused on tablets as a separate notion from PCs. But All Things D reported Tuesday that Best Buy has sold just 25,000 TouchPads after ordering 270,000, and that it’s starting to get annoyed at having to store a bunch of tablets that nobody appears to want.

HP is trying to get people interested in the TouchPad, cutting the price after it became apparent that early demand was weak. But it simply may not be enough: reviews of the TouchPad were lukewarm at best and WebOS is simply not a known quantity among the public. HP could arguably cut prices further, but if you still can’t sell the tablet as its price approaches that of a smartphone, you know you’ve got a problem.

Even if the TouchPad was a hit, tablets would make up a very small part of HP’s overall earnings. It will still be interesting to see if company executives address the TouchPad on Thursday, when it is scheduled to report its latest numbers.