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Arrington's Web Tablet Nearly Ready For Launch?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the wouldn't-it-be-nice dept.

Portables 140

narramissic writes "The 'dead simple and dirt cheap' touchscreen Web tablet that Michael Arrington of TechCrunch set out to build last July seems to be nearing completion, writes blogger Peter Smith. 'The CrunchPad is a Linux-based touchscreen tablet using a browser-based UI. When you turn the unit on, it boots right into the webkit-based browser. There's a pop-up virtual keyboard for entering URLs and such (you wouldn't want to do any significant typing on it) and scrolling is via swiping the screen. When Arrington first visualized the project he was shooting for a $200 price point, then discovered that a $299 price was more realistic.'"

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I was going to get a first post (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210837)

I would have got a first post, but I was typing on a web tablet.

Re:I was going to get a first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210859)

Congratulations. You fail it at failing it.

Re:I was going to get a first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211267)

+----------+
|Congratula|
|tions. You|
|fail at fa|
|iling it. |
+----------+
    |  |
    |  |
  .\|.||/..

Re:I was going to get a first post (2)

MaerD (954222) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210883)

It's got to be better then typing on my cellphone. T9 or other predictive texts only help if you and the cell phone know how to spell the word you want.

I wonder... (1)

acb (2797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210853)

whether there'll be a last.fm client for it.

Re:I wonder... (4, Funny)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210953)

No, but if anyone reads much Techcrunch you'll know that there will almost certainly be a few dozen Twitter clients, and it will probably be the default browser homepage.

Re:I wonder... (2, Insightful)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211513)

In fact, there should be a "web client". The idea is to remain in a browser at all times (except for skype). But what techcrunch screwed up royally here is that they did not use android. That would have given them the latest codebase from a megacorp to have what? A nice screen keyboard (I know it's an oxymoron, jokers), 3g, and other important stuff... such as the browser. Job would have been much easier with Android. It might also have much more perceived safety in the long run.

Re:I wonder... (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212235)

If they keep their goal (promise?) to open up the hardware and Android makes more sense, it will happen pretty quickly.

nice mockups... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28210863)

Gotta say that the mockups look fairly nice. But based on those pics, it looks like it will have a ridiculously high-res display. I'm guessing the final product will have a resolution that's about 1/3 of what they show there.

Re:nice mockups... (5, Informative)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211129)

The resolution looks about what the mockups show. You can find a shot of the actual thing here [apcmag.com] .

Re:nice mockups... (1)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211145)

Judging by prototype C, it looks like a 1280x800 display to me.

Whether the final product will have that resolution I don't know, but given that it's a 12" screen, I'd say it needs it.

Re:nice mockups... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28212181)

It could just be me, but this is the picture [techcrunch.com] I was mainly referring to. That looks quite a bit higher than 1280x800 to me. Just doing a very quick check on the nytimes.com website shows that that's at least 1024 pixels along the short axis, and closer to 1600 or 1800 along the long axis.

Re:nice mockups... (1)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213069)

I hadn't seen the page with that image ( http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/03/crunchpad-the-launch-prototype/ [techcrunch.com] ).

Prototype C is the actual model they're using for demos, but you're right, that 'near-final industrial design' does appear to have a higher res. 1680x1050 at a guess which would fit with your estimates as well.

Getting a screen of that resolution on something like this isn't outside the realms of probability. But if they can do that within a $300 price range, that'd be impressive. I'd certainly consider getting one with that resolution.

Re:nice mockups... (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213169)

Or they used the zoom function in almost every browser to fit the page to the screen

Wait till Slashdot tablet (4, Funny)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210875)

Gartner has projected that in the next 5 years about half of all internet bloggers will paper launch their own internet tablets, because it's the next logical step.

Re:Wait till Slashdot tablet (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211291)

Is Gartner a division of Microsoft?

Re:Wait till Slashdot tablet (2, Funny)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213241)

Technically, no. But only technically.

Re:Wait till Slashdot tablet (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212567)

but will the /. tablet run linux :D

Looks great but... (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210893)

A cursory glance through TFA and the main post it links to do not reveal the specs of the device.

What's the platform? What sort of connectivity does it have?

Re:Looks great but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211385)

A cursory glance through TFA and the main post it links to do not reveal the specs of the device.

What's the platform? What sort of connectivity does it have?

Why would it need specs? This is a web appliance, not a general purpose computer. Does one normally expect detailed specs on a digital picture frame? Oh wait I'm posting on slashdot! In that case, I'm sure someone here has already figured-out how to run an enterprise server, using a home brew distro of Linux, on one of those already...:P

On the other hand, connectivity details might be a useful piece of information.

Re:Looks great but... (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211445)

Specs were more of a point of interest - wondered if it was an ARM processor as they are good for power consumption and battery life. I mean, does it even have a battery or does it need to be plugged in all the time?

I looked at another of the prototype pages and it was using an Atom chip. I guess that's not bad for power consumption and processing power.

Also yes, my immediate thoughts were "I wonder if I could get that to run debian?". You can't blame me for that surely?

Connectivity, yes, would be useful to know what's there in terms of network interfaces. I presume wireless, but any 3G? A wired port?

Re:Looks great but... (4, Informative)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211585)

Have a look at here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrunchPad [wikipedia.org] .
It's supposedly running an ubuntu variant, so debian should be fine. In the recent video of it the narrator apologised for the loading times claiming that they were "on a 3G connection".

Re:Looks great but... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213359)

"Why would it need specs? This is a web appliance, not a general purpose computer."

Because for $299 you can get a decent name brand netbook now days, so if I'm gonna spend $299 on a "web appliance" it better provide something a netbook can not

here's a short list of examples:
ASUS Eee PC 901 XP with 8 hr battery life for $298 [newegg.com]
ASUS Eee PC with Linux for $298 [newegg.com]
Acer Pink 8.9" Aspire One for $248 = Pink for geek gurl [walmart.com] Dell Inspiron Mini 10" Netbook with Intel Atom Z520 Processor for $298 [walmart.com]

Re:Looks great but... (3, Interesting)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211495)

Earlier prototypes used an Atom CPU, I doubt that's changed. And the connectivity is some sort of wifi, presumably g, maybe n.

It looks like a neat device, and I'm definitely interested in the cheap lightweight tablet form factor and market niche. But when I think about purchasing it I can't help comparing it in my head to the super-sized iPod tablet Apple is rumored to be working on.
The crunchpad's 12" screen is nice compared to the 8-10" expected from apple, but the atom and big screen are going to make for really crappy battery life compared to an ARM based 8-10" solution, and the Apple version will be able to do more than just web surf (a version of the iPhone SDK and app store seems inevitable). However, while the crunchpad may have missed it's $200 price target in favor of $300, the rumors of Apple's $600+ price point were never in that league to begin with.

Re:Looks great but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211521)

ARM9 @ 600mHZ, 512MB Ram, Linux 2.6. Wifi connectivity (B, G, and N). X is used for the display, so it should be about 5 minutes before you can use this as a remote X client. 10 minutes and it will be replacing $2000 wacom tablets.

Tech Support? (3, Insightful)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210895)

a webbased OS sitting on a homebrew touchscreen - sounds rock solid to me!

Re:Tech Support? (1)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211517)

I think this is probably designed for people who don't need tech support. I'm hoping they do one better and let us put whatever we want on there.

Re:Tech Support? (1)

keeegan (1526067) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211917)

Even if they didn't, do you think that would stop us? :)

Re:Tech Support? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212301)

"I'm hoping they do one better and let us put whatever we want on there."
You write that as if they had any say in what software I run.

Nokia (1, Interesting)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210915)

Just buy a Nokia N8x0. I am willing to bet you can pick up an n800 for well under $200. The N810 is a bit more but has a slideout qwerty keypad. Its a nice web browser, or portable video screen with great battery life.

Lets stop reinventing the wheel and use what hardware and software is already out there!

Re:Nokia (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211013)

I have an N800 and it's a great pocketable device. But it doesn't really do what I want, that is, hang a panel on the kitchen wall, for browsing, music and video.

I also have a Pepper Pad 3 - that came close (and it's still in the kitchen, albeit on the countertop), but there is no decent distribution for it.

The Crunchpad looks like it would fit the bill, and looks good too. Hung on the wall it could be a digital picture frame too.

Re:Nokia (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211097)

the nokia n8xx are pretty cheap now. they make a very nice ultra portable, good for web browsing, email, IM, watching movies, music, etc. with the 810 model or a bluetooth keyboard they are usable for terminal sessions and a litle bit of work.

I don't use mine much when at home, but its great for travelling.

Re:Nokia (1)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211285)

The thing about the Nokia is, it only has a 800x480 resolution (I believe - correct me if I'm wrong). That's fine for some purposes, but if I'm reading a lengthy document, or trying to look at a large detailed image* I find that 800x480 is a low enough resolution to be irritating. That's what's put me off getting one.

This device looks like it has a 12" screen with a 1280x800 resolution (might be a bit less, I'm just estimating), so it has the potential to be more appropriate for some kinds of usage. Depends what you're looking for really.

*Like comic book pages. What were you thinking?

Re:Nokia (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212935)

you are correct about the resolution. due to the n800s small size, this makes it a very high dpi screen. things look great, and text is very easy to read, but you are also right that the size is just too small for extended reading or viewing. the n800 is a compromise, if you need something very small (fit in pocket.. well some pockets) then its one of your best options at the moment, but if you can handle a larger device then probably you would want something else.

Re:Nokia (2, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212709)

The N8x0 is tiny.

I want this tablet thing as a portable (around the house) media player. It's big enough for two people (myself and my wife) to watch comfortably, has pretty high resolution, and wireless connectivity.

Select your movie from the file server via VLC's web interface, fire up VLC, connect to the stream, set it up on its stand, and enjoy a movie in any room that doesn't already have a screen. We use our laptops for this kind of thing now, but a tablet would be much, much better.

Want music in any room? Turn it on, plug it in to a couple speakers, open up the music player. Want 'Net access in your study for doing quick lookups while reading, but don't want a dedicated machine in there and don't want to cart your laptop all over the damn house (especially since its fucking battery only lasts like 45 minutes while idle after a year of moderate, mostly-plugged-in use, so you have to carry its cord around to use it for anything). This tablet's perfect for this stuff.

Previous tablets were, IMO, too weak to replace a laptop but too big/expensive/small-screened to fill a sub-laptop niche. This thing's awesome, and hits the sweet spot between internet/video phones and laptops. I love it.

less functional than netbook at same price (4, Insightful)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210935)

I don't see what is compelling or really even interesting about this product. A netbook for the same money is a far more capable device.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211059)

When I think of industrial design, impeccable user-interface, rock-solid software, and industry leading portable products I immediately think of Michael Arringon. A blogger on TechCrunch.

Where few dozen companies with multi-million dollar R&D budgets have failed, one man who posts internet rumors in his underwear will succeed.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211605)

Where few dozen companies with multi-million dollar R&D budgets have failed, one man who posts internet rumors in his underwear will succeed.

Ha... I will undercut his market by blogging in my bathrobe! Underwear? We don't need no stinkin' underwear!

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212625)

In a world where few dozen companies with multi-million dollar R&D budgets have failed, one man who posts internet rumors in his underwear will succeed.

Fixed that for you. (at least I like it better that way)

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213331)

Oh, ghod... I miss him still...

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211103)

I don't see what is compelling or really even interesting about this product. A netbook for the same money is a far more capable device.

Larger screen.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211147)

Agreed, a general purpose netbook tablet can't be too far away anyway.

The lack of a keyboard does marginalise it as a $US300 single purpose gadget, as in Nokia's Maemo offerings. For that price an iPhone?

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (2)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211373)

A netbook may be more capable, but I have a 10" ViewSonic Airpanel and believe me a netbook is very uncomfortable to use laying down on your back. Also too I find the web almost unusable on a widescreen format screen.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212261)

*Anything* is uncomfortable to use when laying on your back. Hell, most people's arms get tired of holding up a paperback in about 30 seconds. The unfortunate issue with the touchpad device is that it appears that the only comfortable position to use it in, is the one featured on the product page [techcrunch.com] .

Kiosk - many uses (2, Insightful)

Drinian (621383) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211451)

One use I'd deploy right now is a scheduling kiosk for our fleet. We have a fleet of vehicles and we use pen and paper to schedule their use. I'd love to install one of these next to the key box and have a networked scheduling web app running on it. That way if you're at the key box you can schedule or you could do it from your workstation. Or I could put one next to a common space phone and set it to browse our intranet. Or use it as a wall mounted closed circuit tv monitor. All kinds of uses...

Re:Kiosk - many uses (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212813)

those things can be done with a variety of existing devices, devices that have been available for years and with broad support from established companies. in fact, many companies already do what you're talking about with the vehicle scheduling. they also do timeclocks, security camera monitoring etc. all with existing devices.

Re:Kiosk - many uses (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213365)

Yes, but those are all $2000 devices. Not $200 devices.

I'm right behind him in line to use it in semi-embedded implementations.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (2, Insightful)

tbuskey (135499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211603)

Think of it as a Kindle with:
Color
Openness
WiFi instead of Cell

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

dannycim (442761) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211773)

Think of it as a Kindle with:
Color
Openness
WiFi instead of Cell

... and no battery life to speak of.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211823)

And no Kindle books.
Or e-Ink display.
Or Whispernet connectivity.
Or in fact any features of the Kindle except for being thin and having a screen that can show text.

Why not think of it as an ultra-thin web appliance instead? The two are not even close to each other in function or design.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212231)

Because people are really hankerin' for some DRM, slow displays, and proprietary data networks. Remove all that, and all you have is a Kindle-like device with a thin screen that can show text, and maybe even pictures, as if it were a web browser! Who the fuck uses a web browser?

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211679)

I don't see what is compelling or really even interesting about this product. A netbook for the same money is a far more capable device.

WiFi? Larger screen than an iPhone? Lame.

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212883)

not sure i understand what you're saying. both a netbook and this tablet have wifi and larger screens than an iphone. is that lame?

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

rho (6063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213371)

I reckon you new 'round these parts...

Re:less functional than netbook at same price (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212519)

I don't see what is compelling or really even interesting about this product. A netbook for the same money is a far more capable device.

Exactly my thoughts too. It would be different if this device was filling a specific niche (i.e. Kindle e-reader), and had very little market share to compete with, but at THAT price, it's damn near competing with every other portable hardware device that has a browser and a keyboard.

And the "we'll build the hardware and offer specialized customized apps and a developer kit" idea is pretty much a dead end with the popularity of the Apple store. And once they release an iPod touch in a netbook form factor...Well, I'll just leave it at that and let the rest of the marketeers tend to that nightmare.

Expensive For what it is (5, Insightful)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28210985)

Don't get me wrong: I love the simplicity of the idea. However, if for $300 I am only able to surf the web, I would go for a netbook instead. Sure, netbooks lack the style and aesthetic appeal of a big touchscreen, but you have a real keyboard, a real OS, and you can use it for many different tasks (as much as you can with a tiny screen and keyboard anyway).

However, I may have been sold if the price had stayed at $200.

Yes, but does it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211643)

Oh, wait, it does. Maybe, just maybe, there will be hacks that make it worth $300, if not more? Nah, never happen.

Re:Expensive For what it is (1)

grepya (67436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212487)

Don't underestimate the power of a great big touchscreen to wipe out many other deficiencies (including a great big price tag). You do remember the iPhone... don't you ?

The +$100 from design to market (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212881)

Perhaps you should develop such a device yourself with a target of $100, and when that becomes very difficult, settle on the price point of $200.

Re:The +$100 from design to market (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213321)

There's an idea! ;)

I'm sure that bumping the price up to $300 was the only reasonable way to make any profit, and the most expensive part of the device is most likely the big touchscreen. The point of this device was to be "dead simple and dirt cheap." I honestly do not consider $300 to be dirt cheap, regardless of how necessary the price increase was. Maybe others feel differently, but I simply don't think I could get $300 worth of enjoyment out of the device when I already have other devices that can also surf the web. It may simply be that my idea of a cheap touchscreen websurfing device won't be feasible for a couple more years. But, that's just my opinion. You can take it or leave it. :)

Why not get an iPhone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211041)

At that price point why not just get an iPhone which has webkit based web browsing and also has cellular data connectivity so you can use it anywhere?

Re:Why not get an iPhone? (1)

ViennaSt (1138481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211181)

Or get the New One Button Mac! [youtube.com] Even more simple.

Re:Why not get an iPhone? (2, Insightful)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211211)

You have an iPhone with a 12" screen?

Re:Why not get an iPhone? (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211977)

How about one with multitasking?

Sounds like a large Ipod Touch (1)

ITJC68 (1370229) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211077)

After reading some of this story this device sounds like a large Ipod Touch without all the fancy Apple applications. I agree with the previous poster that a netbook would make a far better choice for this price. When they make a netbook around 190 bucks that is versatile enough I may get one. With most projects he wanted to keep the cost down but that is easier said then done.

Re:Sounds like a large Ipod Touch (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211139)

Right, and for about the same price of about $300, the iPod Touch is also a top-of-the-line digital music player, personal organizer, etc....

Re:Sounds like a large Ipod Touch (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211811)

Right, and for the same money you could get one of these with a screen about 10 times the size.

This is not the same niche as an iPod touch, just because it has a touchscreen.

Except it doesnt have a screen made for Liliputian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211259)

People have 52 inch screens in the living room, 19 to 24 inch computer screens and you want them to read on a small screen the size of a gum pack?

Take your touch and shove it where it dont shine.... thats one place where the small screen size will actually be of benefit.

You need a 10-12 inch screen to be able to comfortably read something.

As for getting a netbook, no you dont. I bought an Acer One for 269$ and it wasnt the 50-60$ over the magical 200 bucks that was going to change my mind.

You on the other hand will have no problem paying 5 times the price as long as the logo is fruity.

hrmmm (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211091)

It needs a stylus for writing notes, if possible, directly onto a webpage. :-)

I hope a PDF viewer is included. Being able to write on the PDF file would be A++++ awesome.

Just like some simple program that stores what I'm writing into a JPG file, and it gets associated to the file or page I'm viewing. So it gets overlaid on the document.

If it replaces a notepad, while allowing me to surf the net, I'm sold.

Re:hrmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211735)

agreed.
 
I find it interesting that many of the previous comments were dismissive of this project. But if it runs linux on an Atom, that means that we'll probably be able to go under the hood and customize it to our liking....with many possible uses.
 
For example, this looks like exactly the type of tool I want to use as document reader. I also envision using it in conjunction with a cheap netbook when I'm lecturing -- connect netbook to overhead projector, then vnc from this Crunchpad to the netbook to give me freedom to walk around the class while still being able to control my presentation AND write on the screen to annotate my slides. (Just an idea of how I would use it.)
 
By the way, what's the closest linux replacement for Acrobat Professional? Something that has the annotation and mark-up ability for pdfs....
 
Cheers, Mike

Re:hrmmm (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211855)

Check out the iLead ebook reader [irextechnologies.com] . Expensive, but exactly fits what you're asking for. I'm saving up for one myself.

Compare how far it has come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211151)

When I first saw the project, I thought that it was entirely too klunky

Eary Image [techcrunch.com]

Where it's at now, however...

Current Prototype [crunchgear.com]

Is looking much more impressive.

So it's like the XO then (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211183)

Reality bumped the price by $100. :)

Re:So it's like the XO then (1)

Tangent128 (1112197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211875)

Clearly all we need do, then, is start a project to develop a computer that we pay the user $99 to use.

Finally a replacement for my SmartDisplay (2, Interesting)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211225)

Wow, I am hoping to see this sometime soon as my 10" ViewSonic AirPanel [viewsonic.com] SmartDisplay [wikipedia.org] is getting a little long in the tooth. Still running 902.11B standard! It's slow with today's web but it is the most convenient item in my stable to browse the web away from my office-chair. I can watch TV, read/mod posts on slashdot -or- news on the web -or- read books & tweak my network from the comfort of my couch.

Yeah, it runs Windows CE but everything isn't perfect. Still it's very light, doesn't need a stylus to click on a link or button (though has one). The only way it could be the browser tool even better would be an external Home, Forward and Back buttons in a convenient place on the frame somewhere.

I recently got a Dell Mini10 as a present and a netbook will never replace a small tablet for the way I use the airpanel.

better article; not cheap (2, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211323)

The second link from the slashdot summary, describing the current product, is extremely short, and is essentially the same text as the slashdot summary. A longer and better article is here [techcrunch.com] . This [techcrunch.com] page has technical specs: 12-inch touchscreen (1024x768 4:3), via nano, 1 GB ram, 4 GB flash, wifi, accelerometer, camera, 3 lb, currently running ubuntu.

Sorry, but $300 is not "dirt cheap," IMO. Zareason.com or system76.com will routinely sell you a full-featured desktop system for $300. WalMart and Sears have sold desktop machines like the Everex gPC as cheap as $200. Target has had the eeePC for $280. This is not even something you'd want to use as a full-function computer, so I'd say $300 is actually pretty expensive. Of course some people may be willing to pay for style or convenience. But as far as convenience, I'm not convinced I'd want something portable like this that didn't have a lid to protect the screen.

"Dirt cheap" is going to be ARM-based computers retailing for $50-100, which we'll probably have within a few years.

Re:better article; not cheap (2, Insightful)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211429)

I think it means dirt cheap FOR A 12" TABLET, which it most certainly is.

Re:better article; not cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211487)

Accelerometer? Camera? Why, why must we tack all these things on to every even semi portable gadget?

Bulk up to cheap down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211377)

Why did they go with such a small profile? I bet that's most of the cost problem, if not the hugeness of the display. I'd totally deal with it being a little clunky if it was cheap and effective.

Re:Bulk up to cheap down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211553)

If people were going to buy clunky, they'd go for a laptop.

By going for slim, they'll have a market of people who currently pay $2000+ for their 10" tablets, provided that those people use them for the internet.

Instead of a tablet... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211459)

what I could really use is a clamshell computer (think Samsung Alias 2 [slashphone.com] ) strapped to my forearm. (Like Turanga Leela, but real.)

With a little tweeking it could be a nice niche pr (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211509)

I just checked out the newest presentation video of this thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP-0Nce5oTQ , and it is quite an interesting product.

Of course the application as a browser only thing is a bit too little.

For the folks who asked what the underlying OS is: Linux + webkit
Specs: no idea, not much.

Now what would be really great: a sane interface API for this thing and the possibility to write apps for it + wlan + bluetooth. Then it would be quite a viable niche product (for cool people only) who for instance could program applications that would allow them to dim the light in their rooms on this thing or monitor a remote server.

Re:With a little tweeking it could be a nice niche (1)

$dancarlson (732043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211689)

or, gee, you could take 10 minutes and write a perl script with a web interface that is hosted on your magical 'remote server'. even simpler.

Re:With a little tweeking it could be a nice niche (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213129)

Dude, I meant cool. I know it is easy to write some web app to do this, but it is not as cool. First I do not get the fidelity (can't access internal display controls, play with them, do some magic, etc.). Second: writing a UI in (X)HTML + (python|perl|whatever) is not cool either (for this kind of device, on a PC yes, but not here).

Hmm, then again, I was in my dreaming session it seems again, as I was mesmerising about cool + practical as opposed to practical only. Think I did not emphase that enough.

Disclaimer: obviously cool means the thing I think nice, which is what I pulled out of my ass on an emotional basis and does not reflect a universal cool (thank the spaghetti thing up there).

Taken with a grain of salt (1)

ikirudennis (1138621) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211537)

Frankly, after the whole techcrunch/last.fm thing, I need some more concrete evidence from Mr. Arrington before I start taking anything he says seriously.

A dream come true for me. (1, Insightful)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211583)

I'm legally blind, so this is something I've been waiting for, for ages.

If I can stick Ubuntu, or anything with a customizable UI on, with a browser / pdf reader that lets me put large, white text on a black background.. surf and read ebooks.. I'm sold.

Accessibility (2, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212049)

As long as you brought up being legally blind, I wonder if you have tried the various flavors of text to speech and speech to text, etc? Asking because I think a vocal user interface that worked *well* would be very nice for some people. Example, being a boomer myself, I am aware that in our aging population arthritis in the fingers is a reality, and most devices today (because rapid innovation is geared way more towards the youth market, despite the aging population being larger and having a lot more disposable cash...) require the ability to type, and it is getting harder and harder as devices shrink and keyboards start to need mosquito beak shaped and sized fingers, along with near perfect dexterity.

Thanks in advance if you have any insight!

Re:Accessibility (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212425)

I don't need text to speech, infact I hate it, I jsut have trouble with small text and blaring white screens with dark text.

If the device is about 1kg (2.2lbs?) then it'd be perfect.

I agree with the input you mentioned, esp with netbooks and tiny keys. One solution would be speech recognition, and maybe an oldschool trackerball for the mouse.

But for me personally, a 12" screen is sweet. Just hope it's not heavy.

Cost can be reduced with services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28211671)

If the CrunchPad can build services and have the hardware cost subsidized (like cell phones) then the price could be reduced or even possible free.

- Mobile phone companies can offer it with built in 3G
- Partner with E-Schoolbook, E-Magazine, E-Newspaper companies - Google may be interested now that they have thrown their hat into the E-Book arena
- Look at Hospitals, Schools, Government agencies to use this for data entry - imagine going to a doctors appointment and being handed the CrunchPad to update medical records, views records, check on prescriptions all while waiting for the appointment. With the push to modernize records to reduce costs this device could take advantage of web apps to streamline processes.
- Newspapers are in a crunch to find new ways to profit. This device can be linked into a subscription with advertising being dynamically assigned by content.

Just a few possible ways to reduce the hardware cost while still building a profit model.

A platform for output-only applications (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211707)

Think of it as a mobile platform for mostly-output applications. eBook reader. Web browser. PowerPoint. TV and movies. Maps. Things where input is minimal.

That's the proper positioning for this - as a content delivery platform with a screen big enough to be useful. There's a market for that.

Re:A platform for output-only applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28212033)

Agreed. The minimal input concept is completely misunderstood by many, like those commenters who say a real keyboard is needed. The CrunchPad's keyboard should be considered a replacement for no keyboard, which is just what's needed for a minimal input device.

Re:A platform for output-only applications (3, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212819)

Bingo. Exactly why I want one. Traditional tablets are too expensive, and trying too hard to be laptops, IMO. This thing's like a giant iPhone to carry around your house/office to provide a decent-sized display and light interface any place you damn well please.

What's not to like?

Re:A platform for output-only applications (2, Insightful)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213037)

Mod P and GP up!!!

Costs can be reduced through services (3, Insightful)

raydias (898043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211769)

If the CrunchPad can build services and have the hardware cost subsidized (like cell phones) then the price could be reduced or even possible free. - Mobile phone companies can offer it with built in 3G - Partner with E-Schoolbook, E-Magazine, E-Newspaper companies - Google may be interested now that they have thrown their hat into the E-Book arena - Look at Hospitals, Schools, Government agencies to use this for data entry - imagine going to a doctors appointment and being handed the CrunchPad to update medical records, views records, check on prescriptions all while waiting for the appointment. With the push to modernize records to reduce costs this device could take advantage of web apps to streamline processes. - Newspapers are in a crunch to find new ways to profit. This device can be linked into a subscription with advertising being dynamically assigned by content. Just a few possible ways to reduce the hardware cost while still building a profit model.

Cost (5, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28211869)

"When Arrington first visualized the project he was shooting for a $200 price point, then discovered that a $299 price was more realistic"

Why do so many people make this same mistake? I think it is hubris - the idea that "I'm smarter than everyone else in the industry, and I have ideas that none of them do". One of the worst PR moves is to drastically raise your estimated price, in this case by 50%. And in the end, the promised price point of 200 dollars was necessary; for 300 dollars, I can get a fully-featured netbook or iPod touch.

And I'd like to add that there are several examples of companies promising a great price, and then actually delivering on it (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Nano [wikipedia.org] )

Re:Cost (1)

leoc (4746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213491)

I think it is hubris - the idea that "I'm smarter than everyone else in the industry, and I have ideas that none of them do".

Wow. Hubris? Really?

There is a long [linux.org] history [hp.com] of people [wikipedia.org] doing stuff they personally find cool and interesting and succeeding wildly at it. Sure there are also a lot of failures, but you cannot succeed without taking risks, and it is pretty pathetic to see that your lame attitude is so prevalent these days.

This web tablet may fail terribly, or it might succeed wildly, but thank Dog there are still people willing to try.

Re:Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28213523)

The problem with the Tata Nano is that YOU are the crumple zone.

Nice for a mobile device (0, Redundant)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28212499)

but pricey at $300 for such limited capability.

What am I going to do?? (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28213309)

What am I going to do with this closetful of $300 single-purpose devices?

Let's see, I have a $300 Kindle for e-books, a $300 CrunchPad for Web pages...

Maybe I'll sell them all and get a $300 Netbook that does all of those things. Maybe not quite as well, but all of those things and a helluva lot more.
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