Best Buy Has 32GB TouchPads For $149, But There’s A Catch

Here’s one to file under “completely unexpected” — remember HP’s long-dead TouchPad? Well, apparently it’s got some life it in yet, as Best Buy will be allowing their customers to purchase a 32GB model for $149 so long as they buy an HP computer at the same time.

The deal starts on November 1, and I suspect Best Buy and HP will be hyping it like crazy next week. This whole thing begs a far bigger question though: where the hell are these things coming from?

It’s been a few months since the TouchPad Fire Sale of 2011, so shouldn’t supply channels have dried up already? Even HP’s own employees had to go through the wringer to get their hands on one, and now they’re back in circulation? As it turns out, these leftover TouchPads may be the result of a last minute production run meant to clear supply channels out of end-of-life components. Estimates put the number of TouchPads ready to sell at between 100,000 and 200,000, but it’s unknown whether or not Best Buy will be getting all of them.

I get that it’s probably part of some pre-holiday promotion to drive computer sales, but the whole thing just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I can’t really blame HP and Best Buy for trying to make a few bucks off of a loss leader like the TouchPad, but it seems unfair considering some early bargain-hunters had their orders abruptly cancelled.

For those of you thinking of jumping on the deal and returning the computer later, be warned that your mileage may vary. While I’m sure some stores won’t have any problem tweaking your transaction, others are likely to shut you down as soon as you walk up to customer service.