Hewlett-Packard will apparently need close to two months to start fulfilling backorders for the (temporarily) revived TouchPad tablet.
"It will take 6-8 weeks to build enough HP TouchPads to meet our current commitments, during which time your order will then ship from this stock with free ground shipping," read an email sent to customers and reprinted in a Sept. 7 posting on the Precentral.net blog. "You will receive a shipping notification with a tracking number once your order has shipped."
That would place the new TouchPads in consumers' hands sometime in either late October or early November. The reduced-price devices are not returnable, according to the email.
HP originally acquired webOS as part of its takeover of Palm in 2010. The manufacturer originally had big plans for loading the operating system onto a variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones, desktops and laptops.
However, sales of its TouchPad proved anemic, and HP made the decision to end the tablet's life after a mere six weeks on the market. In order to clear out inventory, the manufacturer sliced the starting price to $99, which sparked a surge of consumer interest. In the wake of that, HP made the decision to revive the line for a limited time.
In addition, HP plans on dividing its webOS arm into two separate units reporting to different areas of the company, according to two leaked memos that have made their way onto the Web.
The webOS software assets will find their way into the arms, however welcoming, of its Office of Strategy and Technology. The other parts of the webOS corporate infrastructure, presumably including its hardware interests, will continue as part of the Personal Systems Group, which manufactures HP's PCs, and which will presumably be spun off into its own entity under the terms of the company's new strategy.
"We have decided that we'll be most effective in these efforts by having the teams in webOS software engineering, worldwide developer relations and webOS software product marketing join the Office of Strategy and Technology," Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems Group, wrote in an email circulated to the webOS developer team and also leaked onto Precentral.net. "The remainder of the webOS team, under Stephen DeWitt, will continue to report into PSG."
According to at least one analyst, flooding the market with additional TouchPad devices could have significant benefits for HP going forward.
A "larger installed base of TouchPad and webOS devices should increase the value of webOS in a potential sale," Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a research note widely circulated on Barron's and other financial Websites. "We believe logical buyers may include Samsung Electronics, Research In Motion, HTC, Amazon.com, Facebook, Sony, Microsoft and others."