There’s a fire sale on HP’s TouchPads following their announcement of discontinuation of the line. TouchPads are going for $99 for the low end model and are selling like wild, ironic given that if they had sold like this previously HP would most likely not be discontinuing the line. ZDNet declares that this action on the part of HP single-handedly ruins the ‘tablet’ market for non-Apple products because it is both cheaper and evidences the instability that comes with choosing a kind of knock-off brand: namely, you’ll have a knock-off that can’t do anything other than look like the aspirational product. There’s a discussion about how Apple creates markets and companies like HP try to fill markets, which is a completely different philosophical proposition. That the iPad has never been traditionally called a tablet is of note, but also of note is that Apple is a name brand and thus are able to perhaps ask for higher prices on their products which is why the iPad is seen as such an attractive option for those looking to ‘start’ their Apple obsession. On the other hand, HP being a more mass-market maker follows these trendsetters and releases approximations of the Apple magic. By ceasing operations so soon into the TouchPad’s life HP did reaffirm my belief that I will never by a knock-off of anything, just because I don’t want to be one of those idiots when crap hits the fan. What do you think? Is it Apple’s branding that has brought them this far, combined with excellent marketing and design? Or is it simply because Apple innovates and everyone else is just catching up?