Wow... It's pretty clear that few people have any clue as to how the electronics and retail business works. That, and wishful thinking, is the only way I can explain all these goofy/crazy sell touchpads at 199$ schemes!
First of all, the Touchpad didn't start selling before the price was 99-150$. It doesn't matter what it's selling for at Ebay, I mean can you seriously imagine a boardmember standing up at a meeting going: "Hey, it's going for 249 at ebay, so we can probably sell it at least 279!" Can you? Yeah, neither can I!
Secondly, the argument is made that since the Touchpad costs 300$ to make, HP could sell it for 300 and it'll break even. NO, NO NO... The 300 dollars is what is called BOM only. Bill of Materials, how much the parts cost. Add to that the actual cost of production (wages, etc), distribution costs, development costs (webOS doesn't build itself you know), advertising costs, as well as a nice little profit for the retailer. All of that adds up to something that has to cost around 400 dollars just to break even for HP.
Thirdly, the "Sell it at a loss and make money later" idea. Whoever came up with that for the Touchpad, apparently got their MBA during the dotcom boom, in boo.com or one of the other hopeless pie in the sky enterprises.
Let's say that HP really would sell it at 300$ and take a hit of at least 100$ every time somebody would buy it. There are really no content deals in place regarding movies or music, so HP could only make its money back on apps. They get 30% of the price of an app, so a Touchpad wouldn't be profitable till somebody spent 300 dollars on apps.
THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Which is about the price of the TP itself.
But of course there are costs involved with the App catalogue itself, so HP would only start to make 5 or 10 dollars or so, once somebody would have spent around 350-360 dollars on apps. Do you realize what a tiny profitmargin that is? Or how insane the whole proposal really is? I don't think you even CAN spend 360 dollars on apps, not unless you start buying all the really terrible apps. That's like 70, SEVENTY, 5 dollar apps, when we look at somebody who proudly report that theyve spent 50 bucks on apps in total as a big spender.
You'd be hardpressed to find an iPad or iPhone owner who have spent over 300 dollars on apps, even over a couple of years. And iTunes have hundred of thousand high quality apps available, that are heads and shoulders above most of the stuff in Palms App Catalogue.
If you enjoy your Touchpad or webOS device, that's great. Get as much usage from it as you can, because it's dead. Sorry but there is just no way that the Touchpad is viable for HP if it costs less than 4-500 dollars. And we all know it doesn't sell at that price, so the Touchpad is dead. And webOS is dead too, as there is little use for a fourth or fifth mobile ecosystem.