It's never pretty to see a treasured friend flounder aimlessly in a desperate attempt to feel young and relevant years after that part of their life has passed them by. Maybe they have a ridiculous comb over. Maybe they dress like a 15 year old girl even though they're pushing 50. Or maybe they flirt with a jaw-dropping price hike for a signature tablet computer.
This morning, the HTC Flyer tablet was briefly listed for sale at the staggering low price of $99.00. To put that in perspective, when the device launched back in May, the basic version cost $500.00, plus an additional $80 for customers who wanted an optional stylus. That might sound competitive with iPad, but despite 16GB memory, the smallish 7-inch screen kind of made that price look like a slap to the faces of recession-scarred consumers, and they responded accordingly.
At the original full price the Flyer didn't sell very well, which is why it was announced last week that the price would be slashed to a more reasonable $299.00. That sounded like a good idea, until Amazon's Kindle Fire, with its viciously undercutting $199.00 price tag, was announced. Now Kindle Fire is enjoying record pre-orders and the Flyer is stuck trying to suck in its gut and brush over that unsightly bald spot.
While it might make sense for HTC to further lower the Flyer price tag in light of Kindle Fire's success, a drop like this looks financially suicidal, and indeed, Best Buy is now claiming that the $99.00 price was error. Currently the Flyer is once again listed at $299.00 and Best Buy has stated that orders made during the brief $99.00 window will not be honored. People who made those purchases will either need to pony up the full amount, or get a refund. Even so, one has to wonder if this 'error' was more a matter of timing than price. HTC might be willing to take a financial loss if it saves their tablet. I'm betting even if the $99.00 mistake was actually that, we'll see another Flyer reduction before the holiday shopping season begins in earnest.