Could HP align the pricing of its upcoming TouchPad slate with that of Apple's iPad 2? A report by PreCentral certainly suggests so. A screenshot of a Walmart stock listing posted by the site quotes a $599 asking price for what looks like the 32GB, Wi-Fi-only version of the TouchPad
Apple, of course, charges the exact same price for the 32GB version of its Wi-Fi iPad 2. The 16GB model costs $100 less. Since HP has officially announced 16GB and 32GB versions of the TouchPad, it's probably safe to assume that there will be a $499, Wi-Fi-only model.
Funnily enough, PreCentral says HP is even following in Apple's footsteps on the packaging front, using a similar-sized box to store the device. The site also talks of a TouchPad docking station priced at $79.88 (again, based on a Walmart listing). That's a bit of a step up over the iPad 2's $29 dock, although the HP device will reportedly use inductive charging like that neat Touchstone dock for the Palm Pre.
Going up against the iPad 2 at the same price point seems like a bold move for HP, especially considering we're talking about a first-generation device whose operating system lacks the momentum of Android and iOS. We've been impressed by the ease of use of webOS on the Pre, though, so perhaps HP's confidence is justified.