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Monday August 22, 2011 10:58 am

Best Buy decides to sell discounted HP TouchPad, still hard to get

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Handhelds, Hot Deals

TouchPad best buy sale

Despite reports that Best Buy was returning its stock of TouchPad tablets to HP, the retailer said Saturday night that it would be selling discounted TouchPads after all.

"Due to HP's decision to discontinue its TouchPad product, Best Buy will now provide clearance pricing for all HP TouchPad models regardless of previously advertised prices or promotions," Best Buy said in a note on its forums.

The 16 GB TouchPad is $99 and the 32 GB is $149.

The company said there will be a "strict limit" of one TouchPad per customer. Best Buy stores will be selling their remaining inventory while bestbuy.com might have limited inventory, according to the notice. As of 9pm Eastern Saturday, however, the 16GB TouchPad was still listed for $399.99 on Best Buy's Web site and the 32 GB was $499.99. Searching for the TouchPad on the Best Buy Web site, meanwhile, turns up nothing except a TouchPad screen protector; you have to search "best buy TouchPad" on a search engine to find the listing. (Update: Best Buy later re-added the TouchPad to its Web site, but they are now sold out online.)

On Twitter, however, several shoppers reported picking up a TouchPad at their local Best Buy.

"FYI Best Buy in Park City Utah has the HP Touchpad for $99...that's over $300 discount...got one! Yay!" tweeted one woman.

"Just picked up the last 16GB HP TouchPad at Best Buy for $99. Now should I cancel my HP.com order?" wrote another.

"Just picked up my 16GB HP TouchPad at my nearest Best Buy! As soon as I got there, a line formed behind me!" tweeted a Laredo, Texas-based man.

Earlier today, shoppers were not as lucky. "Best Buy in New Jersey was instructed to pull from stock and return all unsold HP TouchPads. None for sale," another said this morning.

Blogger Dave Zatz also tweeted that "Best Buy refused to sell me a TouchPad for $99. Guess they're returning them to HP? Ah well, that's cash saved towards my Amazon Tablet."

The store apparently changed its tune around 4pm Eastern. In its FAQ, Best Buy said that sales of TouchPads at the discounted price are final; no returns allowed, though HP will offer a one-year manufacturer's warranty. If you bought a TouchPad at the full price after June 19, meanwhile, you can come into the store and be refunded the difference, or just return it for a full refund. If you bought it online, call 888BestBuy (888-237-8289) for a price match request, Best Buy said.

Given the interest in the discounted tablets, those who want a TouchPad should probably head to Best Buy as soon as possible. The store said it cannot guarantee inventory at any of its stores.

The HP Web site, meanwhile, is out of stock. In a note the company said that "due to the significant price reduction, we experienced overwhelming demand for the product and are out of inventory." HP asked that customers enter their email addresses to be alerted when it has them back in stock.

Earlier today, HP's small business Web site was listing the discounted tablet, but HP's social media manager, Bryn Corcoran, tweeted recently that it was a glitch. "SMB site incorrect on TouchPad inventory. NO stock," she wrote.

About an hour ago, she also tweeted that "Best Buy does not have them in stock any longer either. They keep sending ppl to HP, but we're out too. More coming." As a result, it's probably best to check with your own local store.

What's all the fuss? HP shocked the tech community on Thursday when it announced plans to pull the plug on support for webOS devices, including the TouchPad. Despite the largely positive reviews, the tablet just couldn't compete with the likes of the iPad and HP ditched the device after less than two months on the market. At $399, the tablet wasn't a compelling offer; at $99, though, where do I sign up? The main drawback is the lack of apps; about 300 at launch. That isn't likely to change with the demise of webOS, but if hackers and enthusiasts are able to come up with a way for the TouchPad to run Android, it could be a different story.

Does your Best Buy have TouchPads? Did you get one? Let us know in the comments.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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