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Leaked Pics of CrunchPad Elicit Progress Update

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the don't-etch-this-sketch dept.


TechCrunch has released a few more technical details, pictures, and general comments about their CrunchPad project as a recent accidental leak saw a new round of images posted to the web. It seems that the tablet has continued to grow and evolve with the help of an Intel Atom chip (as opposed to the Via chip previously used), new software from Fusion Garage, and a bottom-up Linux install. "I wanted something I couldn't buy, and found people who said it could be built for a lot less than I imagined. The goal — a very thin and light touch screen computer, sans physical keyboard, that has no hard drive and boots directly to a browser to surf the web. The operating system exists solely to handle the hardware drivers and run the browser and associated applications. That's it."

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Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (2, Informative)

mdm-adph (1030332) | about 5 years ago | (#27536383)

http://www.chumby.com/ [chumby.com]

I like the philosophy behind the Chumby, but if the CrunchPad is cheaper, I'd get that.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 5 years ago | (#27536449)

According to the article:

Price? it can be built for less than $250, including packaging.

I hope that means $250 retail and not $250 manufacturer's cost. If it sells for $250 retail, this could be an excellent satellite device for the home. Assuming it performs well enough, that is. The real failure of many "web surfing" devices has always been poor usability caused by poor performance. Many also shipped with sub-standard browsers, which presumably wouldn't be the case here.

(As an aside, does anyone else think this looks like something Rodney McKay should be toting around? :-P)

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (3, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 years ago | (#27536643)

For $250, this would make a great peripheral for a full-fledged computer. If the host computer could use it as an external display AND touch input device, I think that would make for some more interesting possibilities than a standalone device with an underpowered CPU and a mediocre OS/apps.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27536733)

Given that it is running x86 linux, I suspect that making use of X11's remote capabilities would be quite trivial. For extra credit, synergy and DMX would be quite interesting in a touchscreen device.

If what you actually want is just a desktop LCD with a touchscreen, than this isn't really the way to go. You can get those already, without the whole computer bit grafted on.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (2, Informative)

SectoidRandom (87023) | about 5 years ago | (#27536779)

Read a little further along the article for your answer;

Price? it can be built for less than $250, including packaging. Add in fixed costs and other stuff you have to deal with (like returns), and you can sell it for $300 and probably not go out of business.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (4, Informative)

agristin (750854) | about 5 years ago | (#27537063)

Read a little further along the article for your answer;

Price? it can be built for less than $250, including packaging. Add in fixed costs and other stuff you have to deal with (like returns), and you can sell it for $300 and probably not go out of business.

I'd like to see that business plan. I suspect if you build it at 250$ the least you could sell it for and not go out of business is 500$. That might be normal.

83% cost of manufacture? At a price point of a few hundred dollars, it is almost impossible to break even, much less turn a profit.

You could survive 80%+ cost of manufacture if you had a very low price point (1$ or less), had no support or return costs, and very low advertising and could sell millions or billions of them. Even then you would want to get down to 50% or less.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (3, Informative)

ConanG (699649) | about 5 years ago | (#27540039)

The thing is, this isn't a normal business venture. He mostly wants it to be built because he wants one himself. He's not motivated by profit, but desire to realize the product. A lot of the initial work was done openly by volunteers which drastically cut engineering costs. I don't think there's going to be much of an advertising budget.

My guess is that he's done the math and probably has a better idea of what he can sell it for and not go out of business. Note that: NOT GO OUT OF BUSINESS. Not become a millionaire. Not become a business tycoon. Simply stay afloat. I think that's all he really wants.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (0, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 5 years ago | (#27537543)

> I hope that means $250 retail and not $250 manufacturer's cost.

No, that's $250 out the loading dock of a contract manufacturer, $450-$500 retail. That this clown thinks you could sell them for $300 shows he has zero business knowledge. That he built a dedicated web browser around an Intel processor instead of ARM shows his technical skills are about average for a tech journalist. i.e. shockingly close to zero.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#27539027)

yes, rip that x86 board out of there and put in an ARM board. Didn't we just see a MID prototype with an ARM board in it they bought from Digikey or something like that? I don't even think this thing has a battery so why the $250 manufacturing cost.

What I'd like to see is something like this with an ARM board and with the display tech from the OLPC XO device. You know, the one where you turn off the backlight and it's sunlight readable gray scale. That would be an awesome device.


Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#27537567)

(As an aside, does anyone else think this looks like something Rodney McKay should be toting around? :-P)

If Apple had provided the tablet computers, yeah.
Although I haven't seen a logo on the tablets, every laptop I've identified has been a Dell.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536543)

chumby? Where I live, that's slang for a fat cock.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | about 5 years ago | (#27537131)

I made a similar comment on TechCrunch's site, calling it a Chumby's big brother. I'd love to see some Chumby-like widgets that would run as screen savers when the Crunchpad is being charged.

I notice that Web 2.0 devices are coalescing around a semi-standard hardware platform: WiFi, touch screen, accelerometers, stereo speakers, and a microphone; USB ports and SD slots are common additions. The Nintendo DS adds a bunch of buttons, the Wii adds Bluetooth and rumble (and loses the touchscreen), and the iPhone adds an entire cell phone (along with Bluetooth). Flash (and X11!) need to standardize interfaces to most of these ASAP so we can start writing truly portable apps.

Re:Kinda reminds me of a Chumby (1)

dunng808 (448849) | about 5 years ago | (#27538251)

Kinda reminds me of my very own Open Slate. [openslate.net] Only my concept calls for a full-featured mobile computer that can do a lot of useful work without a network connection. Think e-book / web browser / PC in a pen-based package. As for the price, students build their own so cost is cost, unless a student chooses to pay a more advanced student to make them a custom unit. The design, construction, and maintenece of slates would be core subjects in fields like art, industrial art, and science. Every slate would be a personal creative statement, a subject of study, and a tool for learning.

The CrunchPad is a good looking device and may have technology I am still looking for. I think such a device has huge potential as a PDA/entertainment center. What I want are the learning experiences that this build team had, for all students. Student built robots and soloar powered cars are other good examples. A finished, off-the-shelf, consumer product will not provide that experience.

After years of lurking on slashdot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536391)


Re:After years of lurking on slashdot (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | about 5 years ago | (#27536563)

Wait a few more years. Fill the time by getting a life. Have a nice day.

Re:After years of lurking on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536917)

Wait a few more years. Fill the time by getting a life. Have a nice day.

Only someone insecure with their own life would ever say something like this.

Nuke Africa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536413)

Fucking niggers are only good at stealing white peoples shit.

Exterminate all the fucking porch monkeys in Africa.

"I wanted something I couldn't buy" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536437)

So far, they remain quite sucessful.

wait... what? (4, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 5 years ago | (#27536515)

I seem to remember there being such things in the first web bubble... net appliances they were called, souped-down computers used for just browsing the web.

I seem to recall the hackers and linux users working hard to get them to be MORE than just browsers and work more like a real computer. I also recall them failing miserably in the market.

Sometimes I begin to think that people just don't know what they want.

Re:wait... what? (3, Interesting)

SectoidRandom (87023) | about 5 years ago | (#27536783)

Ever heard of a NetBook?

Circles I tell ya, it all goes around in circles.

Re:wait... what? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 5 years ago | (#27543925)

Ever heard of a NetBook?


It has an ATOM CPU, 1 GB RAM, a 9" screen, a 160 GB HDD and runs Win XP.

Desktop specs not so very many years back.

Re:wait... what? (4, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 5 years ago | (#27536859)

I'd love this thing if it could do a bit more than just browse. Hardware's beefy enough, just give it a few more apps--NFS/SMB file sharing support, a video and music player (surely it's already got a headphone jack), and an ebook/pdf reader.

It's the first "netbook"-like thing that I've seen that I might actually be interested in. All the others were too much like laptops for my taste, while lacking the horsepower of a real laptop. It'd work great as a main interface for a computer-based home-theater setup. Play music remotely anywhere in the house, control your MythTV box from any room, take it to the bath to watch a movie while you soak (laptops are really inconvenient for that task), etc. Oh, VNC or similar would be nice, too.

As just a "net appliance" it's every bit as stupid as the last generation of those (though at least it's not almost the size of a real PC, like a lot of those were) but as a "anything networked that doesn't require local storage or a real mouse+keyboard" appliance... holy shit, that's pretty cool, especially at that price.

Re:wait... what? (1)

dindae (24490) | about 5 years ago | (#27537279)

If was only a little smaller, had a great interface to play music and movies, and you could run VNC, access the device with WebDAV, and you could install inexpensive apps on it (say $0.99 and up) from an online store. Yeah, if only there was device like that.

Well until then, I guess I'll keep using my iPod Touch.

Re:wait... what? (4, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 5 years ago | (#27537413)

I don't want it to be smaller, though. The screen's the perfect size. The iPod is something for carrying around with you everywhere, while this seems to be something for carrying around your house (or office, I guess). I also have zero interest in the app store; existing, free apps could do everything I'd want on this device (I read somewhere down the comments that it's Linux based, so just take your pick of the applications that would do the things I mentioned)

This'd be much better for toting around the house to watch movies or browse in odd places (bed, tub, etc.) than a laptop is. It could be a portable home media center control interface and media access device. I'd certainly much rather watch movies, browse, and read books on this thing than on an iPod or iPhone, though clearly those would be the better ultra-mobile choices for those tasks.

In short, it's the first netbook-like device I've seen that is sufficiently different from a full-fledged laptop or a much more portable solution like the iPod Touch you mentioned to capture my interest. IMO, it looks like it might nicely fill a niche between those two.

Re:wait... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536941)

Back then they were too expensive & the web had no content (compared with today).

Today, you've got much extremely cheap components & the web has tons of content (most importantly a lot of multimedia), & enough processing power in extremely small form factors to handle that content.

It's possible that some of the ideas from the dot-com bubble were good ideas, just had poor execution and/or were too early in that cheaper & faster components were needed + a bigger ecosystem.

Think about social networking sites - the first ones failed miserably until Myspace & Facebook managed to somehow get it right (in the sense of getting a massive amount of active users).

Re:wait... what? (2, Insightful)

QuincyDurant (943157) | about 5 years ago | (#27537011)

...net appliances they were called, souped-down computers...

Yes, please.

Real-world users don't need a fraction of the horsepower in today's laptops. What they need (or at least what I need) is a drastically reduced feature set and concomitantly less demand from the hardware.

I use an Alphasmart Neo--700 hours of battery life on three 2As--that doesn't do enough to qualify as a Netbook, but it comes close.

A full-blown Linux OS seems like overkill, and Windows Vista is asinine.

Re:wait... what? (2, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | about 5 years ago | (#27537067)

I had an iOpener, a V5 that I got a hard drive onto, split the keyboard connector for a mouse, added a low profile fan to keep it from smoking, and loaded XP (or was it 98, so long ago) to replace the custom QNX install. Explaing the pizza key got tired. A USB Ethernet dongle got me online. woot!

But you could buy one for $99, 'forget' to use a credit card, and never log into the service that was supposed to subsidize the device. They show up on eBay sometimes now, but it ain't a touchscreen.

I actually wish I still had one. But a CrunchPad sounds like what I would love to have. So long as it can handle Flash... grrr...

Wish someone would come out with similar hardware that was subsidized by their service. Be fun to hack up again...

Re:wait... what? (1)

DigitalCrackPipe (626884) | about 5 years ago | (#27537441)

I bought an I-opener on eBay to make a digital picture frame before those became commonly available (and affordable). I got a late revision - by the end they were trying to lock down the OS (no loophole to get down to root after it connected to the main service, unable to modify bios settings to change boot order, etc).

It was a fun engineering challenge, mostly aided by patience in chipping the epoxy off of the bios chip and buying a flashed one so I could boot an external drive and continue the process.

I still use it when I remember to turn it on. I like it better than ones you can buy today, but that's probably because of the time I spent repurposing it.

Re:wait... what? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27537701)

Actually, nobody ever really produced a machine which was only a web browser except the iOpener, which failed because the browser sucked. I have a WebDT 366, they're $1250 and up and only really sold for point of sale and similar.

Re:wait... what? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 5 years ago | (#27538777)

And 'thin-clients'. And 'remote terminals'. And 'X terminals'. And doubtless dozens of other cute names for lowend, remote clients to a more centralized set of resources: what's changed is that those resources are now at Google and Wikipedia, not in your local computer room.

Re:wait... what? (1)

ogdenk (712300) | about 5 years ago | (#27540267)

net appliances, palm-sized PC's, handheld PC's, PDA's, etc.

They keep reinventing the name but they keep failing to kill the desktop computer.

Personally, I liked every single one of these devices but when people realized there was no good JVM or Flash player to play Sudoku and other gay, stupid online games tailored for a full-fledged PC with a bloated browser and a library of plugins, they shunned them.

That and the Windows expert next door told them they were useless and sucked. Never mind that this Windows expert was a 14-yr-old that did a book report on Windows for Dummies.

Re:wait... what? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 5 years ago | (#27540795)

The net is a lot more entrenched now in the "normal" world. You can do a hell of a lot more with web apps now, as well.

Get one of these things with autoupdating firefox+java+flash+xpi extensions, and that will be enough for many normal users.

It won't be the only computer for most people, but it may be a nice secondary computer to keep in the livingroom or kitchen for casual browsing.

Someone can create an extension to pipe video to it via a browser extension, probably.

Cost $250 Retail for $300? (0)

mpapet (761907) | about 5 years ago | (#27536521)

There's no business to be built on $50 profit.

Let's imagine they go direct for now. No resellers at all.

When a single machine is returned, that's $250 out of the businesses pocket. It would take 10 sold machines to recoup the cost of the single return!

What are the industrial design the startup costs? You know, the casing mold, PCB sourcing/assembly. Someone pays to have the device tested by regulatory agencies. Now, you want to make a return on that initial investment too.

As an expensive hobby, it would work.

Oh, and I want one with a mythtv frontend.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#27536665)

last I checked, 10 * $50 is $500 and $500 is > $250 (or $200, depending on how you account for it).

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

astrotek (132325) | about 5 years ago | (#27536765)

His math is a little off but the returned item still has a cost of 250 to the business plus the new one they send out for 250. So you have a maximum of a $500 cost for a return. The components dont cost that much but assuming you are making 50 per unit, every return costs a maximum of $400(old parts + new parts). So you need to sell 8(400/50) for every 1 that gets returned. Your margins now suck if more than 1 out of 30 get returned.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 5 years ago | (#27536853)

If 1/30 of your units is irreparably faulty, you've got some serious problems with your manufacturing process that should preclude you selling anything in the first place (cure Red Ring of Death comments).

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (2, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 5 years ago | (#27538185)

1 in 30 isn't all that uncommon in consumer electronics. The RRoD issue is more like 1 in 3.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536681)

There's no business to be built on $50 profit. Let's imagine they go direct for now. No resellers at all. When a single machine is returned, that's $250 out of the businesses pocket. It would take 10 sold machines to recoup the cost of the single return!

If a machine is returned, unless something is broken, they can refurbish and resell it.

But even if the returned machine is a complete loss (and I wonder why you'd refund someone who broke it), its cost of 250$ divided by 50$ profit per unit is five units, not ten.

But yeah, that's not much profit. If it costs 250$, sell it for nearly 500$.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 5 years ago | (#27537221)

If a machine is returned, unless something is broken, they can refurbish and resell it.

Let's say for a moment the device is refurbished. Not only have you lost money on the return, paid someone to fix the thing and get it ready for resale, AND offering it at a discount, does the cost of repairing make any sense at all?

I'm not saying "it's doomed" or an otherwise bad device. I'm saying the business end of the device will not work out well at all for the developers at $50 profit.

Yeah, the original math is bad. The corrected math in another post puts it at selling 8 units for every return. That's before anyone is on email support and the costs of shipping the devices back and forth is accounted.

Finally, the manufacturing costs would go down, but it does so in big quantity steps. If there's no money for resellers or advertising how will volume ramp up?

BTW, if the volume *ever* did ramp up fantastically there would be a knockoff by MSI and their counterparts in just a few months time at 2/3 the retail price of this device.

I really would like one. Really. It's just that many things aren't as well thought out as the device itself.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

jlowery (47102) | about 5 years ago | (#27536717)

I think you're neglecting economy of scale. If it cost $250 to build from scratch, prices will go down once component can be bought in bulk.

Bad math... (1)

copponex (13876) | about 5 years ago | (#27536885)

First of all, it would only take 5 machines to recoup. Second, you assume that the entire machine is lost.

Let's say you have to send a call tag and send another one out. Now you're out $25, and you have the broken unit back. Let's say that nearly half of it is broken, and it costs $100 in parts and labor to get it to a "refurb" state. You sell it on your website for $250. You're out $125, which is paid for in the sales of three more units.

As long as you keep your failure rate below 20%, you are breaking even. Do any volume, and your costs go down. Stay in business, and your costs will go down over time. Sell "extended" warranties for $49, which most users will never bother using. Manufacture a few accessories at a 50% margin, or just license it to third party manufacturers and collect the checks. You could probably forget about the profit and make plenty of money just from the fees.

A 17% net profit margin at launch? Christ. That's a wet dream for any real business owner.

Re:Cost $250 Retail for $300? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27537213)

Yes...let's ass u me that the stated $250 build cost doesn't include any of the actual manufacturing and sustainability costs.
We'll just blindly figure that the people actually building this have zero clue what they are doing, and are just yanking figures out of their ass.

hand held PDA-like deivce you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536561)

So is there an LCARS [google.com] skin for it yet?

Does it support the interfaces for your standard issue Tricoder [wikipedia.org] ?

Getting closer... (3, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | about 5 years ago | (#27536677)

It's too big. Cut the size in half and add mobile broadband options in addition to wifi. Otherwise it should be good.

It's essentially a PADD from Star Trek, and once someone figures out that copying that design will result in huge profits, we'll see some really cool gear.

I would get this as shown... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 5 years ago | (#27536935)

Know why? I would like a really good web-type pad to use as a master remote control with my HTPC (currently using Ubuntu/Boxee and some home-grown Prism stuff). For that matter, it'd be a great remote entry to all my machines in the house.

I've tried using my Nokia 800 and my Pepper Pad 3. They both come close, but are clumsy at both higher resolutions and text entry (well, the PP3 handles text entry fine, really). If I could get something that does 1280x800 resolution with a decent virtual keyboard, as well as decent battery life, I'd be all over it.

Re:I would get this as shown... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 5 years ago | (#27537421)

Precisely what I was thinking. My first thought when I saw this thing was, "holy shit, it's not just a smart remote for an HTPC, it's possibly the smartest remote ever!"

Re:I would get this as shown... (1)

mikedeanklein (1052254) | about 5 years ago | (#27537517)

I'm doing same as you. An N800 as remote for MythTV, XBMC, etc. and trying to use PP3 for custom IR stuff. The N800 is also great for custom web pages to control sprinklers, lighting and security system. The PP3 I think has the most potential due to builtin CIR (a/v infrared). I wish they'd put CIR on more devices. Why do you need higher resolution than what's on N800 or PP3 if you're using them as "dumb" remotes though?

Re:I would get this as shown... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 5 years ago | (#27537963)

Why do you need higher resolution than what's on N800 or PP3 if you're using them as "dumb" remotes though?

Well, I'm not using them as "dumb" remotes, per sé. I would really like use them as full remote clients, mimicking the entire screen as shown on my TV on the remote (N800 or PP3), making text entry easier. And vncviewer is a bit slow on the N800, due to processor speed, I would guess. But, yeah, if all I'm doing is tabbing, moving up or down, etc, they both do an OK job. Boxee can cause some problems, in that it has to be started before getting a remote desktop to actually show on the tablet, though.

Re:Getting closer... (1)

EchaniDrgn (1039374) | about 5 years ago | (#27536953)

From what I recall from another article they are planning on releasing the schematics open source. So the thought of other companies getting in on the action is much more probable than you might think.

Re:Getting closer... (2, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 5 years ago | (#27536981)

I think it's the perfect size. Big enough for "real" websites and a large-ish touchscreen keyboard. Big enough for 2 people to watch Hulu on without eye strain. Still small enough to tote around the house with ease.

Half the size? Just buy an iPhone. Mobile broadband? C'mon, this thing isn't for watching movies in your car. Again, just buy an iPhone, or any number of other devices that already cater to that market.

IMO, this is the best "netbook" concept I've seen yet. If it can do just a bit more than just browse (handle video streamed from a MythTV box, for instance, and display ebooks/PDFs) then I'd love to have one. All the other netbooks I've seen have utterly failed to hit the sweet-spot for what I want out of a device that size.

Re:Getting closer... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27537237)

It's too big. Cut the size in half and add mobile broadband options in addition to wifi.

So...a slightly larger iPhone or iTouch, without the AT&T or Apple tethering.

Re:Getting closer... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 5 years ago | (#27537503)

Cut the size in half, keep the aspect ratio, and you have an iPod touch or any other touch based device.

The issue with mobile broadband is that at least in the US, it is clear you have to work with the cell providers. I do believe this is going to the next growth area for the Verizon ATT and the like. If these things can be sold for $300, they can be almost given away with a $60 a month broadband contract. How many people who have little need for a full blown computer would buy one of these. Of course, I would want to use Skype, and Verizon clearly does not want that.

It looks too thick and clunky (1)

xquark (649804) | about 5 years ago | (#27536679)

they should try thinning out the form factor a bit, at least something on the scale of an iphone or or better, with a screen the size of a piece of a4 with no more than 3mm case border.

Re:It looks too thick and clunky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27538163)

It looks like an enormous iTouch to me.

Perfect data entry gadget for business use (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27536729)

Holy crap! I could use 20 of these in my business right now!

Illicit (1)

scurvy_lubber (58534) | about 5 years ago | (#27536861)

Elicit? Nice. I guess it's a refreshing change from the usual lose/loose etc.

Re:Illicit (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | about 5 years ago | (#27537045)

There is no typo.

One entry found.

Main Entry:
transitive verb
Latin elicitus, past participle of elicere, from e- + lacere to allure
1 : to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential)
2 : to call forth or draw out (as information or a response)
synonyms see educe

Still not what I'm looking for (2, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | about 5 years ago | (#27536863)

For years I've been trying to find a fairly small (10-13" monitor) tablet which would essentially be a Wacom Cintiq with a built-in computer just fast enough to run apps like Sketchbook Pro, Painter or other "creative" applications, but apparently there are no machines like this.

There have been a few tablets with a good stylus but these have generally been sold as "high-end" machines meaning they've been expensive, overpowered and too big, I'm looking for what could be described as a digital sketchbook, any performance-intensive image editing could be done on a regular laptop or desktop.

I've tried to look for good tablets all over the place but apparently this particular kind of tablet isn't interesting in the eyes of manufacturers (even though I've seen way too many threads on various art/graphics/design forums where people have been looking for just this kind of machine).

Oh well, the more tablets that are on the market the bigger the chances of me eventually finding what I'm looking for.


Re:Still not what I'm looking for (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | about 5 years ago | (#27536995)

How does this tablet miss the mark? Are you afraid that the touchscreen resolution isn't high enough for your needs? Just because it's designed to respond to your finger doesn't mean you can't use a stylus.

Re:Still not what I'm looking for (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 5 years ago | (#27537055)

The quality for input with a stylus needs to be pretty high, and I suspect you wouldn't be able to rest your hands on the screen surface while using a stylus which would make it very awkward.


Re:Still not what I'm looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27538373)

I have a Motion Computing LS800 tablet computer. If you can try one, I recommend it. An artist friend of mine tried it out and was suitably impressed with it, maybe their other computers are equally good (screen is small at 8" ish.) What really stuck out to me was a couple things: screen is very close to the writing surface (little/no parallax), and it's capacitive with pressure sensitivity (!) and a reversable stylus (pen/"eraser") so palms etc don't faze it.

Re:Still not what I'm looking for (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 5 years ago | (#27537113)

And if this tablet won't do it, many current tablets on the market license pen technology from Wacom. They don't have the full range of sensitivity of the standalone Intuos tablets, but that's true of the Cintiq, also.

One criticism of tablets I've heard from artist types, though, is that the screens that ship with tablets are inadequate for graphics work for various reasons. For example, the extra layer of plastic required for the touchscreen makes the image look "off," or the color response is poor. It may be difficult to overcome this problem, for technical reasons.

Re:Still not what I'm looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537635)

AFAIK, the CrunchPad's screen, like most cheap touchscreens not designed for drawing, is not pressure-sensitive.

Re:Still not what I'm looking for (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 5 years ago | (#27539041)

Doesn't exist yet. I have a 2ghz athlon Turon tablet which runs ArtRage as a mobile sketch application and it JUST BARELY keeps up with ArtRage or Corel Painter.

The little Atom just doesn't have it in it yet to handle advanced paint apps at reasonable resolutions. Not to mention if you're working on a big painting you want at least 2GB of RAM.

Why no keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537047)

I just don't get the no-keyboard craze. Even in a browser-only device I would still want to be able to fill out forms, enter URLs, etc... I couldn't count the times per week I enter an address into the google maps mobile app on my cell. Yes, you can have letters on the touchpad but then your viewing screen shrinks down to the size of a pea every time you go to type. If there is more than one thing on the form... enter one line then shrink the keyboard (rarely easy w/out accidentally hitting another letter) scroll so you can see the next line, select it, bring back the on-screen keyboard...

come on!!

We need more mobile devices WITH slideout keyboards not without. So what if it adds a 1/4" to the thickness of the thing. I have an extended battery on my cellphone which adds more than that and I carry it all the time. It has never gotten in my way.

Re:Why no keyboard? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27537301)

Yes. An actual fold out/slideout keyboard. For instance, that's what the PSP needed from the start...a dedicated keyboard.

Isn't that what an OS is supposed to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537777)

The operating system exists solely to handle the hardware drivers and run the browser and associated applications. That's it.

Sounds like Symbian or PalmOS, something that allows you to do what you want without the OS getting into the way.

Way of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537857)

What your looking at is the future, unfortunately it's the future maybe a decade from now when everything is cloud hosted. When that happens then this type of hardware will be perfect, you'll be able to run anything you want. But as it stands there's a limited amount you can really do on the web, and so this will have a limited market. Especially since products like the iphone can accomplish much of what this does in a much easier to carry package.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27539245)

If the first thing you thought when you saw it was: "How can I make this work with Linux.", then you are officially a nerd.

100MB for an OS+Browser+plugins!? (1)

ScorpFromHell (837952) | about 5 years ago | (#27539859)

Is it only me who is surprised (because of ignorance) that the s/w footprint stands at 100MB, when evidently they just want to control the h/w & for an application they want only a browser? Well, for practical uses, the browser would need flash plugins, etc. and most obviously would need addons if the browser supports it. When a Linux distro like DamnSmallLinux provides much more than a browser in just 50MB why do these guys need double of that?!

What is "a bottom-up Linux install"? (1)

Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) | about 5 years ago | (#27542551)


What, exactly, is "a bottom-up Linux install"?

Forgive me for thinking it sounds like giving a piece of hardware an enema.

Software agnostic is the key to success (0, Offtopic)

alegrepublic (83799) | about 5 years ago | (#27542681)

A piece of hardware like this is badly needed, but the key is that any such device should be totally independent of the software installed. People then could choose to install anything they want on it. My ideal tablet would behave exactly like a notebook computer without the need to have custom software or modify existing desktop environments. One way to achieve that would be to have a touchscreen plus 3 additional hardware buttons that interact with the OS at the lowest level possible (maybe even below driver level). The 3 buttons should work like this:
  • A button to show a virtual keyboard so that the OS receives key-press events
  • A button to send drag events so that the OS receives button-pressed-while-mouse-moving events when pressed
  • A button to cycle between left, middle and right clicks as the event sent to the OS when the user touches the screen

Any OS would think it was running in a regular notebook with a regular keyboard and a regular mouse, so the hardware would not be handicapped by the lack of available custom software. I see no reason why a tablet like this does not exist today, as there are lots of things one could do with it even if CPU power was low. The Nokia N8xx tablets were close to this goal, but their dependence on custom software (applications had to be hildonized) made them much less useful than they could have been otherwise.

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