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R.I.P. HP TouchPad? Not so fast . . .

To misquote Mark Twain, reports of the death of the HP TouchPad have been greatly exaggerated. It's fascinating what's happening here: 1. HP TouchPad killed after two months; remaining inventory slashed to $99. 2. Consumers buy them in droves, causing HP to announce they'll make more.

Conclusions: 1. There's a market for $99 tablets that let people surf and e-mail. It raises the question of how much apps matter outside of the iTunes Store. 2. Other non-iPad tablet makers that don't have mature app stores now face a competitor that has risen from the ashes. It may force some to drop prices. It may force others to drop out. 3. Expect a rogue, Open-Source developer community to hack the HP device to make it more functional than ever.

And so the tablet evolution continues.

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