[tl:gallery index=0 size=470×573]HP announced at the end of last week that it was scrapping its just-launched tablet computer, the TouchPad, after disappointing sales.

The TouchPad is roughly the same size and shape as the Apple iPad, and has a similar 9.7” touch-screen. It works in much the same way too, although it uses different software called webOS.

This was originally developed by smartphone manufacturer Palm — a company that HP bought last year, revamped its products and relaunched them under its own name.

Unfortunately, the TouchPad hasn’t been quite the success HP was hoping for, although it only went on sale last month — and now HP has pulled the plug.

So, why do you need to know about a tablet computer that’s been scrapped by its manufacturer? Well, in the US, HP is having a serious fire sale for the masses of unsold TouchPads still in shops, with the base $399 model now available for a mere $99 — that’s around £60.

Despite the TouchPad’s bugs (inevitable for the first version of any computer) and distinct lack of third-party applications, this price tag still makes it an absolute steal.

Just like the iPad, it’s the perfect device for catching up on email and web sites, whether sat on the sofa at home or tucked up in the back of the van.

Unfortunately, HP has yet to announce similarly dramatic price cuts for the TouchPad in the UK, so this is just an early warning in case we get the same special offer as the US.

Discounted TouchPads are selling like hot cakes across the Atlantic, so keep an eye on online retailer web sites like Amazon.co.uk over the next few days to see if prices get slashed there too.

Update: HP has announced that the entry-level 16GB TouchPad will be available for £89 from 6pm this evening from online and high street stores. PC World, for example, will be selling models at this price, but the steep discount won’t appear until 6pm.