09/15/2011, 12:26 AM
I can't help wondering what part the cracking problem had in the decision to dump the TouchPad.
HP knew about the problem back in July if not earlier (a little Google research on how the problem emerged would be interesting). Given that it has been encountered in various regions of the world, it doesn't look like a problem with one small batch, which intuitively you would expect to end up in one country.
So they had to decide what to do - recall them all and fit revised back shells to them (including those in stock) which would have imposed serious delays on the roll-out, escalated costs, and damaged consumer confidence in the device. Or carry on selling them and hope that not too many would actually crack (and that's initially what they did). Or dump them in a fire sale thereby getting at least some money back, and hope that the low price would inhibit complaints.
I'm not suggesting that it was the only reason, of course not - but while the bosses were mulling where to go with WebOS and associated hardware, if the product manager came to them and said "Ooops, there's a design fault and we need to recall the whole lot and repair them", that would have made the bosses' decision somewhat easier to make.