Thursday, August 18, HP made a big announcement: it is completely dropping all of its products running on WebOS. Thought to provide the only possibility for an “iPad killer,” many techies and experts are disappointed that HP dropped out of the game so quickly.

Rumor has it that HP is killing its WebOS products, including the new TouchPad released a month ago, because it fears its rivals. In other words, they do not have the confidence that many others had in their tablet PC. HP, however, has decided to stick to what it is (according to them) good at: printers and software.

This impetuous decision could be due to the somewhat underwhelming sales of its TouchPad at launch. Looking closely, though, any techie can see that the uneventful launch was mostly because it was released too early. HP rushed an underdeveloped product in order to get into the competition – and therefore beat itself out of the competition.

The early launch did not include a great selection of apps due to the relatively new OS – although reportedly the apps optimized for the TouchPad are amazing. A lack of apps, no rear-camera, less service and experience in the business means that the TouchPad could have done well if it was not priced equal to the almighty iPad.

But it was.

So now HP and retailers everywhere are slashing HP tablet prices to unbelievable rates – as in about 75% off. 16GB models were going for as low as $99!  Of course, online stores are sold out as far as the eye can see, and will not be restocking. Good old physical stores had some until probably yesterday, but overstock and outlets may still have some in stock.

To the techies and gadget geeks who had their eyes set on a brighter TouchPad-filled tomorrow, I am sorry to say that chances are slim of finding one at all, let alone at that miniscule price.  [Author’s note: I regrettably must brag to you now that I got one yesterday at Best Buy; a 32GB for $150. Crazy!]

What does this mean for tablets? Well, it means for Apple that there is less competition. It also means that HP’s $1.2 billion buyout of Palm and its WebOS was a huge waste of money.

It still also means that a lucky few have the TouchPad for really cheap, but without another buyout of WebOS, what will become of these tablets? Who will develop for a dying breed? I, and a few others, will find out.