HP can already say “We’re number 2!” with TouchPad

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The most appealing tablet these days is by far Apple’s iPad, but HP’s TouchPad is a surprising second choice, beating out the many Google Android Honeycomb tablets and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook. The data backing up that claim comes from a study of 1,100 people that might consider purchasing a tablet, according to a report on CNET. While only 10.3 percent of respondents said they might be interested in a TouchPad, the report suggests that HP’s tablet is more appealing than other non-iPad slates.

The timing of the report is interesting because it conicides with two other bits of news on the TouchPad: Estimated and actual sales. Last night, an AllThingsD report referred to HP’s tablet as the “OuchPad,” based on poor sales. Retail chain Best Buy has reportedly sold just 25,000 of the 270,000 TouchPads it has in stock, according to sources “familiar with the matter.” This follows only 612 TouchPad sales in a one-day promotion at Woot.com earlier this month, when the tablet was discounted to $379. Estimated sales aside, tomorrow could reveal actual sales information straight from the horse’s mouth, as HP is set to report earnings at 2pm PT.

All of these developments follow a price cut from HP, which reduced the cost of both TouchPad models by $100. It’s possible that it portends doom and gloom for the product, but I think that’s a premature sentiment for a number of reasons. It’s also interesting because some have suggested — rightly, I’d add — that if a tablet can’t match the iPad in terms of user experience and apps, it must be priced lower than the iPad. With the new pricing, HP’s TouchPad surely fits the bill; it actually offers a solid user experience based on my usage, but lacks the ecosystem iPad owners enjoy for accessories, media services and third-party applications.

Although a survey of potential tablet buyers doesn’t equate to sales, it shows promise for the TouchPad, especially considering the device only launched early last month. It also wasn’t until the middle of July, or roughly 30 days ago, that HP began a TouchPad marketing campaign in earnest. And yet, more people surveyed are familiar enough with the device name and brand to consider buying it over a Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or BlackBerry Playbook.

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