Tablets

TouchPad lives! HP's spin-off PC unit may resurrect it

The HP TouchPad may not be as dead as we thought. It turns out that HP's soon-to-be spun-off PC unit could throw it a lifeline.

The bizarre journey of the HP TouchPad made another unexpected left turn on Tuesday. It now appears that the product could get another chance at life from an unexpected source -- HP's soon-to-be spun-off PC business. We may soon have to name this product "The Lazarus of tablets."

On the same day that CEO Léo Apotheker dropped the bomb about killing off the TouchPad, he also happened to mention a small little detail about HP spinning off its market-leading PC business into a separate public company since it doesn't make enough profit to satisfy Apotheker or the company's shareholders.

The head of the Personal Systems Group (PSG) -- that's what HP calls its PC business -- is in Asia this week trying to calm down a lot of HP partners and customers and assure them that HP isn't just folding the PC business, as a lot of people incorrectly assumed when they first read the news.

PSG chief Todd Bradley told Reuters on Tuesday that it's unlikely HP would sell off the PC unit to a rival such as Acer or Lenovo. Instead, Bradley expects that HP will spin off PSG into a separate public company and that he will lead the transition and become the CEO of that new company.

"A standalone company could and will do what's most required to drive value for shareholders and partners," said Bradley.

Reuters also reported, "Bradley said the company could resurrect HP's short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later."

In the interview, Bradley stated, "Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely."

Clearly, Bradley and other HP executives have watched with interest as the TouchPad immediately turned into hot-seller when the price was slashed to $99 following the announcement of its demise.

The challenge, of course, will be timing. It could take a year before PSG is spun off into its own public company. HP's board won't meet to decide its ultimate fate until December. In the meantime, the uncertainty will likely cause HP to lose a lot of its best talent in tablets and WebOS. It will also cause a lapse in product development that could doom any future efforts -- unless Bradley is orchestrating something behind the scenes to secretly keep the WebOS trains running while the current transition plays out.

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

14 comments
brutus
brutus

Windows 8? That sounds like a whole new platform, not a resurrection. Would the TouchPad even be a good (not just 'good enough') platform for Windows 8? If they considered supporting/developing the current for of the TouchPad, the recent uncertainty and fire-sales do not seem good for the business market. In the personal market the competition is even fiercer. I do not believe...

Mervoid
Mervoid

I'm at a loss as to how virtually every media outlet gets this: ???Bradley said the company could resurrect HP???s short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later.??? out of this one vague statement: "Tablet computing is a segment of the market that???s relevant, absolutely.??? I mean... WTF? That's NOT what he said at all! It's a huge leap from one to the other but everyone has grabbed hold and run with it! It's misinformation like this that's causing half the confusion: HP's blunders not withstanding... Rant over... :)

Akivaran
Akivaran

The only reason that the Touchpad was selling is b/c it was $100. Anyone could sell a comparable spec'd tablet for $100. They won't, cause they're losing money in selling them so low.

alexchiu
alexchiu

Bradley can see the catch there... Touchpad re-vitalized

teeeceee
teeeceee

I guess I am one of those... I still think at the price I paid for it it is a decent deal, with or without support from HP. Thousands of other chumps that have been scooping them up on ebay must think so too. I am just curious to know if Linux will run on it too. Hmmm... anybody have some WebOS drivers? Chump #1

jmackeyiii
jmackeyiii

That was until a bunch of douche nozzles decided that they were going to pull the licensing card and have the touchpad blocked. This is definitely more of a hulu issue, it should not matter if my touchpad can operate and function like a real computer, i should be able to view hulu. Especially if I am apart of hulu plus. jack wagons **note** the user interface is very nice so they need to cultivate webOS.

statistiker
statistiker

A possible name for the possible new company might be Compaq ?

teeeceee
teeeceee

This comes as good news since I just broke down and bought one on ebay, since I could not score one for $150 at Best Buy. I have been wavering over acquiring a tablet of some sort. Not wanting to spend 800+ for an iPad, the $260 I paid for the Touchpad seems like a good deal, for my proposed business uses of it at least. Given that so many have sold now, and I have heard that the WebOS has been hacked now too, there is no telling what might come around next that we new owners can leverage for use on it. Maybe, just maybe, the new HP PSG morph will continue to develop for it (Touchpad). In any event, I have a new toy, at a reasonable price (Hint, hint, HP!)

JCitizen
JCitizen

would by the PC unit. HP has had miserable performance for I and my clients, and their support is unknowledgeable, and no help at all. I've had to pull every solution out of my caboose to keep things going. I'm probably going to either go to Asus roll yer owns. Or simply switch to Asus altogether. As far as tablet PCs, I'm not ready to go there yet, but my clients will be in droves, I predict. This spin off news, gives me relief for the poor chumps that suckered into the $99 deal for HPs.(at least for now)

adornoe
adornoe

and might be waiting to see if it might not be worth it to stay in the PC/tablet business after Windows 8 is released.. If they're going to take a year to think about it, it could be that, that gives them enough time to re-evaluate the new OS paradigm coming down the pike, that being Windows 8, which will give new life to PCs and tablets. Wouldn't they look foolish if after the PC/tablet units are sold/spun off, the PC and tablet markets take off like a rocket?

teeeceee
teeeceee

So HP did not pay the licensing fees to Hulu?

sperry532
sperry532

Where Are YOU Buying Your Apple Products? Even on the Apple site, the price ranges from $499 to $699. The major reason the Touchpad sold out is because HP dropped to price point to under $100. This is low enough for those who want to try a pad, but didn't want to spend $200 or more for something that may not work for them. Additionally, some are being bought by speculators who are selling them on E-Bay for well over $200. I just now saw one on E-Bay priced for quicksale at $510! This may all become moot since, according to Marketplace Tech Report this morning, HP is going to do another production run of the Touchpad. Price is the driving factor here, not quality or features, including OS.

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

... in which Apple operates and rips off its customers. It actually does charge $800 for iPads in my country, which is why a Touchpad on ebay for $300 is still a good deal

sperry532
sperry532

I'm well aware of it having worked and lived in several other countries. The extra costs to the Apple (and any other U.S.) products is the result of tariffs, taxes, import duties, and other fees imposed and collected by the government of the country importing the product. Apple has no control over - and does not receive any of - these funds. It isn't Apple ripping you off, it's your own government.