CrunchPad tablet is alive, well, and under $400 (with sponsorship)

Last week the folks at The Business Insider started predicting that Michael Arrington’s CrunchPad tablet was dead. Arrington hadn’t really spoken much about the tablet since this summer, and the Business Insider heard rumors that the rising costs of production were delaying and possibly putting an end to the tablet.

Apparently the reports of the CrunchPad’s death are a bit premature. In this week’s Gillmor Gang video, Arrington says that the CrunchPad is coming along and that it will sell for somewhere between $300 and $400. He says it costs somewhere in the “upper $200s” to build, and that he’s looking at ways to help keep costs down with sponsorship opportunities, sort of the way Firefox makes money for Mozilla through the search box with Google set as the default search engine. Hopefully Arrington is talking about similarly unobtrusive sponsorship.

While the project apparently isn’t dead, I do still think there’s a chance it will be DOA. Arrington says that the CrunchPad, which will feature a 12 inch display and an Intel Atom processor, and a browser will be designed to handle Hulu, YouTube, Gmail, and other web apps. And that’s about it. For $99, I think that would be an awesome device. For $300 to $400 I don’t really see why anyone would buy a dedicated web device instead of a fully functional computer. By the time the CrunchPad is available, you might even be able to pick up a touchscreen tablet style netbook in the $400 range. You can already get the Eee PC T91/T91MT for around $500 to $550.

But Arrington predicts that within a few years web tablets will be just as big as netbooks, with 10s of millions having been sold. It’s not entirely clear whether he’s talking about the CrunchPad alone, or other similar products. He does say that he’s not too concerned about competition from the upcoming Apple Tablet, which he expects to have a smaller screen, but to be significantly more powerful than the CrunchPad while costing 2-3 times as much.

While I’m skeptical that there’s a huge market for web tablets, Arrington does know a thing or two about entrepreneurship. He does run one of the most popular tech blogs on the internet, and blogging is a business he didn’t know much about before he started doing it either. Why not consumer electronics?

You can check out the CrunchPad section of the Gillmor Gang video at about 39 minutes into the video.

via UMPC Portal

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    If it came to market a year ago and at the bottom end of that price range it probably would have done well. Unfortunately I think it missed it's window of opportunity. Expect to see ARM based tablets doing the same thing cheaper, lighter and with better battery life within 3-6 months.

    Reminds me of the Palm Pre. If it had been released 18 months ago it would probably have done fine. Now it is just too little too late.

  • greggmarshall

    I can see this as a nice computer if it will allow an external keyboard for applications where significant typing is involved, perhaps with support for wireless USB.

    I'd love a computer about that size, with a capacitive touch screen and the ability to “dock” with a desktop setup. Couple it with a Mifi for connectivity when not at home. I think netbooks and the thin and light notebooks have shown that you don't really need an optical drive built in. I'd trade a built in keyboard for half the thickness and 30% less weight.

  • John Morris

    Dead. Too expensive, and with an Atom the battery life is far too short.

    If you are going with an Atom you have to justify that decision with some benefit to offset the increased partcount, cost and power usage. The Crunchpad doesn't do that, everything it offers could have been done with an ARM. Increasingly, the only justification for Atom is Windows compatibility and since the Crunchpad doesn't….. Design fail.

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  • DG

    This website is currently generating a warning that it's somehow linking to a dangerous site that is blocked by Avast anti-virus. May well be one of your banners. The dangerous site referred to is nextgirl.cn/promo/index.php.

  • tomleemullins

    Why pay $300-400 for a Crunchpad when one can buy a netbook with a screen that rotates to a 'tablet' position for about or less than the price they want to sell it for.

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  • http://newnetbookreviews.net/ netbook reviews

    you should do a story on the Microsoft tablet, it's going to be bad a$$ if it's as good as the leaked videos

  • DG

    N.B. If you're NOT getting a “site blocked” message, it may be because your anti-virus is not up to date, and your computer may be infected by the linked site. Would strongly recommend carrying out a full virus/malware scan on your computer, especially if using Windows and/or Internet Explorer.

  • colormedisappointed

    I’m tired of waiting – I want a dead simple and dirt cheap touch screen web tablet to surf the web. Nothing fancy like the CrunchPad, which will cost $400. Just a Macbook Air-thin touch screen machine that runs Firefox and possibly Skype on top of a Linux kernel.

    This should be something dead simple to create with today's tech, I'm sure we could get it out the door for less than $200.

  • great_idea_arrington

    Umm, that's what Arrington was trying to create. Unfortunately, by the time it's “potentially” getting out the door as “joojoo” (horrible name) it's not that cheap. It's that cheap to manufacture, but not that cheap for you.

  • great_idea_arrington

    Umm, that's what Arrington was trying to create. Unfortunately, by the time it's “potentially” getting out the door as “joojoo” (horrible name) it's not that cheap. It's that cheap to manufacture, but not that cheap for you.