Well that settles it: clearly the way to compete with Apple is to mark down your only tablet hardware by 80%, then leave the market in huff. According to The NPD Group, the HP TouchPad made up the largest percentage of the non-Apple tablet market at 17%, with Samsung in a close third at 16%.
Total non-Apple tablet hardware sales were approximately 1.2 million from January through October, giving HP a total run of about 200,000 TouchPads through its brief existence. Something seems a bit amiss with NPD’s numbers, though, as Google’s own statistics say that 3.4 million Honeycomb tablets had been sold as of last month. We’ll chock that one up to conflicting metrics, but it’s clear that the TouchPad has sold extremely well, mostly thanks to an insane $99 firesale at the end of its retail life.
So, what are people doing with their ultra-cheap tablets? A good bit are probably enjoying WebOS’s browser and Facebook apps, and not much else – a $100 tablet running a very solid operating system is a steal no matter what you do with it. But if you’re anything like the average Android Community commenter, you’ve already unlocked that sucker and thrown an alpha build of CyanogenMod 7 on it. You can check out our hands-on of n early Android build here. The possibility, nay, inevitability of an Android port inspired a lot of geeky sales, and the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich version of CyanogenMod 9 only makes it more exciting.
You can expect these numbers to climb significantly over the next year – though not HP’s, natch. Android already commands an impressive 27% of total tablet sales, and with new innovations like quad-core processors and Ice Cream Sandwich dropping soon, the arguments in favor of Android over iPad will continue to grow.