NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- When Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, introduced the iPad tablet in the beginning of 2010, no one could say for sure whether it would be the company's biggest success or just an over-hyped failure. By the end of the year, though, 15 million iPads had been sold, compared with 2 million tablets sold by other brands. Still, by March of this year there were more than 100 different tablets on sale.In a very real sense, the success of the iPad attracted some of the biggest names in the technology world to try their luck in the burgeoning market, but only a few ended up with even a fraction of the sales Apple's ( AAPL) device enjoyed, forcing many companies to rethink their investments in the tablet area.
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The TouchPad was only on sale for a little more than a month this summer before Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) that it would be discontinued. Looking back, it seems foolish to think H-P could charge the same price as the iPad for the TouchPad -- even though the device ran on its own specific WebOS operating system -- without all the apps available on Google's ( GOOG) Android and Apple's iOS devices. H-P had highlighted WebOS as a strength, focusing on the system's multitasking and browsing capabilities, but ultimately consumers were hesitant about spending $500 or more hoping the TouchPad's features would catch up. That said, a strange thing happened when H-P announced the end of the product line in August, slashing the price of the TouchPad to just $99 for the cheapest model to cut its losses and sell off the remainder of its inventory: Sure enough, consumers rushed to snatch up the discounted devices, eager just to have a cheap tablet to play with, and some even tried to hack the tablet to get the Android operating system on there. Taken together, these events showed how wrong H-P was in its initial thinking for the product, yet they proved there is an appetite among consumers for an affordable alternative to the iPad.