Friday, August 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm.

Why HP is smart to slash the TouchPad’s price

Obviously, it’s not selling well. Have you ever seen anyone using one?

But HP knows it’s late to the game. It knows the TouchPad is last year’s iPad with a different name. So it’s putting them on sale, all over the place.

It would be nice to be able to sell a lot of TouchPads at a big profit, the way Apple does with the iPad, but that’s not reality for HP right now. So it might as well get them into the market instead of having them collect dust in a warehouse. Presumably, a $300-$400 TouchPad is more attractive to some people than spending a bunch more on an iPad. And it’s not like HP is in a position to maintain any sort of premium status in this market.

HP is also spending money to get tablet apps made for WebOS, which is another smart move. Do you think Time Inc., for example, is making TouchPad versions of its magazine apps because it expects a lot of people to buy them? I assume HP is investing something in that project, and I’ve heard for sure that it’s investing in other WebOS app development projects. (Nothing to be ashamed of — everyone but Apple is doing this, basically.)

The hope for HP to succeed in tablets, I am frequently told, is “the enterprise.” We’ll see about that — it could take a while, and I still don’t know why the iPad won’t dominate there, too. But in the meantime, it’s better to seed the market than to sit still, especially when you have inventory to move.

Related: Why Apple will dominate the tablet market for years