Aug. 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM ET
HP, inundated with customers who want a $99 TouchPad, Monday stopped accepting customer requests to be notified if and when the tablet is available again.
"We have received an overwhelming number of requests to be notified if the TouchPad is again available for sale. As a result, we have turned off the ability to be notified," HP says on its Touch Pad website when the "notify me" button is clicked. "We will have more information on product availability shortly. The most current information will be provided here. Those who signed up for notification will also be receiving an email as soon as we have more information to share."
The TouchPad frenzy has been in full gear for the past 10 days, since HP slashed prices on the two-month old tablet, which started its retail life at $499 for a 16 GB version, and $599 for the 32 GB model, to $99 and $149, respectively.
Mark Budgell, HP's social media strategist, said on a company blog Monday that HP has been "surprised by the enthusiastic response to the TouchPad price drop, and we understand and that many customers were disappointed that HP and our retail partners ran out of supply so fast."
Bryna Corcoran, HP's social media manager, has been busy on Twitter keeping those who are tracking TouchPad availability in the loop, but also with little good news for potential buyers. Monday morning, she tweeted:
In a Q-and-A on its site, this is some of what HP has to say about the TouchPad:
When is HP getting more HP TouchPads? One week, two weeks, a month?
We will have more information available in the next few days about whether or not more will be available and if so, what the details will be about the situation.
Q: Will the notification/alert emails go out all at once so everyone has a fair shot?
All emails to those who signed up will be sent at the same time.
Q: What about retailers? Some retailers won’t price match or drop their price to $99.
Each retailer will manage their own policy and process regarding pricing and price matching. Please contact the local retailer of your choice to see what their current position is.
And, as is expected, there is price-gouging going on by some individual sellers, who nabbed up TouchPads and are reselling them at twice or more from the discounted price for the tablets:
Q: Please limit stock to 1 per person: some people are getting 20 and then selling them on craigslist and eBay for a major profit.
If more inventory is available in the future, there will be an order limit.
Some view the TouchPad torrent of interest as a good lesson about tablet pricing. "Apple's iPad finally met its marketing match," wrote Brooke Crothers of CNET: "Over the last year and a half, no other tablet had been able to come as close as the TouchPad to eclipsing the fixation that consumers have had on the iPad," with the sale price triggering "the kind of buying frenzy that had been reserved exclusively for products from Apple."
Noted another observer: