Despite being dumped outside a hospital wrapped in a thin blanket of respectability HP's webOS TouchPad tablet, unloved and unwanted by its creator, is fast becoming the world's second most popular tablet of all time.

Last week HP shocked the tech world by announcing it was scrapping all its existing and planned webOS hardware devices, including the flagship TouchPad tablet - just seven weeks after a launch and much fanfare. Indeed the killing was so swift that TV ads are still running in some parts of the US.

There has been speculation about what HP would do with the hundreds of thousands of unsold TouchPads, with a sad end in an industrial landfill one of the ignomious exits.

However, HP instead slashed the price of the Touchard to a mere $99, and the gadget-hungry public has rushed to seize all stock online.

The 16GB WiFi TouchPad is selling for $99, and the 32GB version is reduced to $149.

Giant US retailer Best Buy reportedly had 245,000 excess TouchPads after optimistically ordering 270,000 from HP, and followed suit in reduucing TouchPad prices to bargain levels. Its forum is now stating that "We are sold out of the HP TouchPad both in store and online and will not be receiving more inventory".

What are the chances of a £99 TouchPad in the UK? None so far, with Amazon still pricing the webOS tablet at £312 (16GB) and £399 (32GB). Americans are, however, selling their $99 TouchPads to eager UK buyers via auction sites such as eBay.

That left industry commentators such as Technologizer's Harry McCracken to speculate on the "What If': "With the fire sale, I wonder what the chances are that the TouchPad will end up the 2nd best-selling tablet after the iPad," commented McCracken on Facebook.

Without specifically mentioning Apple's phenomenally successful iPad tablet HP has laid the blame on it for effectively destroying the entire PC industry.

HP TouchPad selling for $99

"The tablet effect is real," said HP CEO Leo Apotheker, "and our TouchPad has not been gaining enough traction in the marketplace."

Now it appears that HP's TouchPad, offered at a more than reasonable price, is seriously rivalling rival Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – itself under threat from Apple's keen legal squad.