More $99 HP TouchPads and Other Tablet Alternatives on the Way

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Tablet computers are a hot commodity, but their prices are steep – unless HP holds another fire sale, or other major players jump into the market soon.

If you’ve been looking for a bargain on a tablet computer, you may be bummed to hear you missed out on HP’s liquidation sale of the TouchPad: just $99 for the 16 GB model. (It was going for $400, and started at $500 like most tablets.)

The TouchPad – the second-most popular tablet device after the iPad, according to a survey published last month – was discontinued by HP two weeks ago. That weekend, they dropped the price and it sold like, well, an iPad. (According to the same survey, iPads have a 93-percent market share right now.)

Retailers quickly depleted their stock as the TouchPad hit the top of Amazon’s best-seller list and became a most-discussed topic on Twitter when people were sharing where else to find one. I know several people who got order cancellations because nobody could meet the demand or delist the item fast enough.

But wait, there’s more!

Here’s the good news for anyone who missed out: Late last week, HP decided to make a last production run of TouchPads, and it sounds like the company will leave them at the $99 price for the 16 GB model and $149 for the 32 GB. When will they be available? In “a few weeks,” HP says, with instructions to follow their social media/PR folks Bryna Corcoran (@BrynaatHP) and Mark Budgell (@MarkatHP) on Twitter for the latest info.

And if you already bought one at a higher price, HP’s FAQ suggests you might be able to get the difference refunded from the retailer. Ask and see.

What could sweeten the deal even further for TouchPad owners is that a group called TouchDroid is working on a way to port the Android operating system onto the devices. By default, TouchPads use webOS, first developed for the Palm Pre and a handful of other smartphones.

While HP intended to expand on that, putting the OS on PCs and other devices, it’s no longer clear that they will – HP’s FAQ is vague, saying only that they plan to end “manufacturing webOS hardware” and “development of webOS devices.” They don’t mention software. What this could mean is that TouchPad users are stuck with an operating system that won’t get any updates, at least for now. On the other hand, HP may continue developing the OS and license it for other companies’ hardware. We’ll have to wait and find out.

Other tablet alternatives

Tablet-hungry consumers who aren’t willing to fork out for an iPad may have to wait. (Unless you want to buy a wooden iPad 2 for $180, like one South Carolina woman recently did…) After the TouchPad liquidation, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color are pretty much the only “budget” options. Here are the top brands and their retail prices, by size and price:

There are two things that might shake up the tablet market in the coming months. First, there’s the news that Amazon may be debuting a tablet as soon as October, according to Forbes. They’ve had enormous success with their Kindle eReader and have historically shown they’re willing to undersell to build market share.

The second twist is Google buying Motorola Mobility, which makes the Xoom tablet. While much of the talk about that buyout has focused on patents, it’s possible with Google taking direct control of production, it could drop the tablet’s price to become more competitive. CEO Larry Page has hinted as much with a blog post on the merger, saying this…

“The combination of Google and Motorola will not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences. I am confident that these great experiences will create huge value for shareholders.”

So if you’re not sure about tablets yet, waiting to see what Amazon and Google do might be a good idea.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,972 more deals!