Houston, we have TouchPad

As if it were Black Friday, I monitored the $99 HP TouchPad threads throughout the evening. It was clear that the “fire sale” started on 8/20/11, but not specifically when. Several Canadian retailers listed the TouchPad at $99 around 8pm, and one American seller on the East Coast (P.C. Richards and Sons) did so near midnight Central time.

I checked at 11 central, midnight, then took hour naps until 1 and 2 (which would be midnight PST). Various people on blogs (such as SlickDeals) mentioned their success with purchases, and there was a lot of trolling and rickrolling with links. At 2 am, one of the blogs mentioned the sale would go live in the US at 7 EST. I then set my alarm for 6 CST and took a four hour nap. At 6am, Walmart.com listed the price at $99 (previously $399 and even $499 a few days earlier). I tried ordering online, but Wal-mart wouldn’t allow in-store pick-up! I hopped in the car and went to our local Wal-mart where several 16GB and 32 GB devices were available for purchase–at their not-reduced prices.

To make matters more interesting, the workers were all overnight stockers who also serve as customer service associates when necessary, so the lady that helped me really didn’t know what was going on. She called a manager because the price wasn’t in the system, and they wouldn’t match Wal-mart’s own online price. Soon, another guy was standing there wanting a device, and people were calling. We couldn’t find a competitor’s matching price, so they suggested we stand around and wait for the price to work its way into the system around 8am. For a $400 discount, I was willing to do that.

After we standee there an additional fifteen minutes, the manager returned. She had talked to corporate and had been receiving calls from other Wal-marts. We were given the special price, even though it still wasn’t in the system.

I ended up buying two, one for me to use and work with, and one for my stepson to use at school and in-between the two houses. I figure that the top-of-the-line graphing calculator costs more than the TouchPad, and with the sudden surge of TouchPads on the market, there will still be some app development. And we should always be able to get $99 back for these devices.

The TouchPad is packaged very well, with some nods to Apple packaging. My only gripe is that the battery seems to have arrived in a completely discharged state. I have no idea if the device will work with my MacBook or online services like Dropbox. At $99, I’m willing to work with that. And should someone figure out how to install Android on the TouchPad in the future, I’ll certainly look at that, too.

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