I've always wanted to be the author of a conspiracy theory and I think that HP has given me the perfect opportunity. The whole TouchPad / WebOS apparent dismantling is just a trick. HP has actually just pulled off one of the greatest stunts of all times. What follows is my theory of what is really going on.
HP acquired Palm and WebOS last year and began to work on a strategy to create devices that were competitive with Apple's iPhone and iPad. The WebOS is a technically superior OS to iOS in many ways, which is an advantage, but would not guarantee success simply due to technical superiority. HP also had the ability to basically copy the same general tablet form factor and technical specs that all the other tablets were using. In basic terms HP was able to create a device that was similar technically to the iPad and in some ways even better.
HP realized that they also had to compete with the Apple appstore and development community. This is not something that can be easily solved, so a few high placed executives must of come up with the secret plan that we now see unfolding.
They planned to release the Touchpad as a high end tablet that "Worked Like Nothing Else" with celebrity spokespeople and lots of ads. This would give consumers the impression of the high value of their new tablet. In order to spur demand and quickly sell ALL the Touchpads they could make, they would then slash prices to $99 and announce that they were discontinuing the Touchpad. All Touchpads would sell out in days.
This part of the secret plan has been executed already, and we have seen that it was successful. The next steps should come in the next few days.
It is my theory that HP's secret plan next calls for HP to announce that in the wake of unprecedented demand and the need to support all of it's new cusomers - They are going to keep working on tablets and WebOS.
Maybe this is just a crazy consipiracy theory, but I thnk that it makes sense. We'll all just have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks :)
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