HP cuts tablet price in bid to challenge iPad

US technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) on Thursday cut the price of its freshly-launched TouchPad tablet computers in a bid to gain traction in a market dominated by Apple's iPad.

TouchPads with 16 gigabytes of memory were offered on the HP website for $400 and models with 32 gigabytes were available for $500 in what amounted to lopping $100 off the original prices.

"HP continually evaluates pricing for its products and is pleased to permanently extend its back-to-school promotion on the HP TouchPad," a company spokesman said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

TouchPads made their US debut in early July as HP took on iPad and Android devices in the fast-growing tablet market, and are sold by major US retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart as well as on Amazon.com.

Unlike the iPad, the TouchPad supports Adobe's Flash video format. It runs the webOS operating system, developed by Palm, the mobile-device pioneer that HP acquired last year for $1.2 billion.

The TouchPad debuted to mixed reviews, suggesting it will face an uphill climb against the iPad and other devices.

Apple touts having sold 25 million iPads since releasing the first version of the device in April 2010. It released its next-generation iPad 2 in March.

Besides the iPad, the market for tablet computers now includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Motorola Xoom and dozens of devices running Google's Android operating system.

HP's stock has slumped since the beginning of the year amid investor concerns that the Palo Alto, California-based company is being overtaken by younger, nimbler rivals such as Apple and Dell.

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