updated 12:40 pm EDT, Fri July 15, 2011
HP TouchPad goes beyond US with price cuts
HP kickstarted the international launch of the TouchPad on Friday. The webOS tablet is now available both in Canada and the UK, both directly and from third-party chains. Official prices in both countries sit at $519 and £399 for a 16GB model, and $619 or £479 for a 32GB edition. Both are the same inside as their American counterparts.
The Canadian launch, however, appears to have already seen a determination to undercut the iPad on price. Retailers such as Future Shop are already offering steep discounts based on a $70 HP "instant rebate" that brings the actual prices down to $450 and $550. Neither side has clarified when the promo ends.
After a mixed initial reception, HP has been showing more signs of making a concerted push and may see price cuts and bundles as vital to getting attention. Executives have already promised a major US retail initiative and have claimed that July 1 was a "soft" launch. Much of its marketing will include celebrity pitches from Manny Pacquiao, Russell Brand, and Paloma Faith (below) but also pushes that will show even in HP's usual PC business.
Trust in webOS is strong enough that the company plans to use it in virtually every product with a display by sometime next year. While professing not to be worried about competing with the iPad, simliarities in design and the strategy suggest HP considers the TouchPad a "halo" device that, like the iPad, could lure users over to other products.