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$99 HP TouchPad deal too good to last

HP's TouchPad tablet, killed last week by HP after less than two months on store shelves, and marked down to $99.99 from its original price of $499, was a best-seller Monday as buyers quickly scooped up the tablet. As word spread of the fire-sale pricing, supplies diminished rapidly, and some online sellers, including eBay and, were offering TouchPads for $200-plus.

The same was true for the 32 GB version of the tablet, originally $499 with the price slashed to $149.99 by HP, with online prices hovering between $250 and $300-plus for that model.

A check of price comparison website showed, shall we say, not impressive prices for the TouchPad, with more regular pricing of the device listed.

Best Buy online said both versions of the tablets are sold out, although it's still worth checking your local stores to see if they're in stock. (I checked with mine and — bupkus, zero, nada, no luck. I also checked with my local Staples, another TouchPad seller; they too were cleaned out.)

If you bought a TouchPad previously from a Best Buy store, the company says you can return it, following these guidelines.

Best Buy, which is limiting sales of the TouchPad to one per customer, also says this about returns or exchanges of the discounted tablets:

Best Buy will not accept customer returns or exchanges on clearance-priced TouchPads bought through any Best Buy channel.

Customers purchasing a TouchPad at clearance pricing will have a 1-year manufacturer's warranty, fulfilled directly through HP, not Best Buy.

Customers who purchased the 16GB or 32GB TouchPad after June 19 may come into the store to get either a full refund or a refund of the difference between the price they paid and the clearance price.

PreCentral said that HP sent this memo to its affiliates:

HP will be lowering the price of the TouchPad beginning Saturday 8/20/11. This is the lowest price ever for the TouchPad so please post it as soon as it goes live.

16GB TouchPad- $99; 32GB TouchPad - $149

Some recent TouchPad owners are (understandably) complaining about the situation in a "we got burned" thread on HP's TouchPad Support Community Forum.

But said one, shacker2762, "Personally, I am keeping my TouchPad. It's still a great platform to surf the web from and Google Docs works rather well (especially when you connect your BT keyboard). Flash still works so I can watch YouTube and other video sites. Skype is still operational so I can use it as a dedicated video chat device while using my computer.  Also, it's still a great device to watch videos from."

Note: We updated this story and original headline, "HP TouchPad fire sale price: $99.99," several hours after the original posting because of the frenzy, and because we wanted to let our readers know it may not be easy to get the tablet at that price.

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