Hewlett-Packard has dropped the price of the HP TouchPad by $50 until September 10, 2011. The likely reason is to make room for the HP TouchPad 4G. Last month, HP offered a $50 rebate on the purchase of a new 32GB TouchPad to early webOS adopters: a proof of ownership of a Palm Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, or Pixi Plus was required. Now the company is slashing the price for everyone, and for both models.

In related news, HP has also released the first update for the HP TouchPad this week: webOS 3.0.2. The new version improves the performance and stability of the device, addresses a number of security issues, plus includes changes to the calendar, email, music, photos and videos, and web browser applications. Jon Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager of HP's Palm Global Business Unit, promised significant updates to webOS after the first poor HP TouchPad reviews. Here's the changelog for webOS 3.0.2, the first of many such updates:

  • Calendar: Quicker Just Type event search and event creation and improved handling of meeting cancellations
  • Email: Faster scrolling, improved message content and image display, and improved management of multiple emails in Draft and Outbox views
  • Music: Reduced audio skipping when the device is running other applications and better display of album art
  • Photos & Videos: Added ability to set wallpapers as well as faster and more reliable handling of individual photos and albums
  • Text Assist: Improved speed and accuracy of auto-corrections
  • Web: Increased scrolling support compatibility within web pages, improved performance of remote HTML5 video playback, and improved responsiveness of auto correction within the browser
  • webOS System: Fixed issues with oversensitive screen rotation

The HP TouchPad is a 9.7-inch slate (1024 x 768 resolution), powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 processor, 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage, 1GB of RAM, HP's Beats audio, a micro-USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a front-mounted 1.3MP camera, as well as a light sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, and GPS (3G model only). It measures 242 x 190 x 13.7mm and weighs around 740g. The device is running a WebOS 3.0 with true multitasking, Flash 10.1, a paneled e-mail application, a pop-up notification system like Growl, Skype support, wireless printing, calendar and e-mail integration via HP Synergy, as well as compatibility with Amazon's Kindle ebook store, Google Docs, QuickOffice, and more.

The HP TouchPad was released in the US on July 1, 2011. The device is available from US retailers, commercial resellers, and direct from HP with the option of either 16GB ($450.00 after an instant $50 rebate) or 32GB ($550.00 after an instant $50 rebate) of internal storage. Optional accessories (sold separately) for the HP TouchPad include the HP Touchstone Charging Dock ($80), the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard ($70), and the HP TouchPad Case ($50). For more details, check out our review.