HP always said its TouchPad tablet computer would take sales from the iPad and at the moment of its death that prediction looks as if it has come true in ironic fashion.

At least one UK retailer, DSG (which runs Dixons and PC World) was briefly offering the 16GB TouchPad for as little as £89 on its website with the 32GB model costing £115, a hefty reduction on the optimistic £350-£400 these models are selling for on rival sites.

For those unfortunate enough to have paid the full price for an HP Touchpad, DSG is offering to refund the difference between the list and the fire sale price, the company told the Guardian. The publication suggested that HP would compensate the retailers for their losses on the product.

It's not clear whether this was a sales gimmick to get visitors to its website - the TouchPad was unavailable only hours after the rumour of its low price spread - but there is no doubt that if other sellers followed suit to rid themselves of a defunct device, there would be takers.

Despite running HP's WebOS - not exactly famed for the large number of apps available for it - the device itself is well specified. The processor is the Qualcomm's rapid 1.2 GHz, dual-core Snapdragon, with 1GB of RAM, and 16GB or 32GB of storage, complete with a 1.3 megapixel camera, a micro-USB port and a portable 9.7 inch screen.

And as for being obsolete, the TouchPad was only officially launched in the UK six weeks ago, reaching stores in volume perhaps as recently as two weeks ago. That counts as the most rapid sales death of a current product in gadget history.

In the US, the sales scrim was equally intense, with the device selling out in record time, taking sales from iPads. In the UK, major rivals continue to offer both TouchPads at full price although with Dixon's decision to rid itself of stock taking some demand out of the market that policy could change in the days ahead.

The mystery of HP's WebOS/Palm strategy will remain a question better answered by the tech historians. It won't be the last flashy device to disappear, whatever the price.