HP, others struggle to unload non-Apple tablets

Analysts predict further price drops for tablets across the board as the holiday season draws nearer

More than a year has gone by since Hewlett-Packard plunked down $1.2 billion for Palm in hopes of becoming a credible competitor to Apple in the mobile market. Thus far, though, the company has had little to show for that acquisition but frustration and embarrassment.

The latest indicator of just how far behind HP has fallen: AllThingsD.com reports that electronics box-store behemoth Best Buy has been able to sell only around 25,000 of the 270,000 HP TouchPads -- and is looking to HP to take back some of the units.

It's no secret that HP has struggled in its bid to gain momentum in the tablet race. Signs of trouble were evident as far back as January when the company failed to show up to CES with a WebOS-powered machine, opting instead to wait until February to display the fruits of the Palm acquisition. When HP's TouchPad finally hit stores in June, it garnered middling reviews, due to its underwhelming features and design. HP has gone so far as to knock $100 off the price of the TouchPad, a move that evidently has failed to attract buyers.

HP is obviously aware it's losing ground fast against the iPad as well as against Android-powered tablets, which would explain why the company shook up its Palm business unit last month, replacing Jon Rubenstein with Stephen DeWitt.

HP may take small comfort in the fact that all tablet makers out there with names other than "Apple" are having difficulty pushing their wares. According to Digitimes, Asustek has sold only 500,000 of the 700,000 units it shipped between May and July. RIM and HTC are already looking ahead to 2012; Samsung and Motorola are seeing slower-than-expected sales; and other manufacturers, including Acer, are trimming their orders, according to Digitimes.

HP also isn't the only tablet maker to drop the price of its tablet; Motorola, Asustek, and Acer have all done the same. Prices are expected to start dropping again in September, according to Digitimes, as the holiday season approaches.

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