It’s been a bit over a month since TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington announced his plans for world domination a $200 internet tablet that does one thing, and does it well – runs a web browser. Arrington’s idea is that you don’t really need a full fledged operating system and the ability to run applications on some portable devices. All you need is the ability to surf the web and access web applications like Zoho or Google Reader. And once you decide that your hardware only needs to support a single application, it should be a lot easier to produce a cheap device.

Now after a month of silence, Arrington has shown a picture of a working prototype. I mean, the picture doesn’t show the computer on. And he hasn’t announced any details about the software (although, I’m pretty sure he wants it to run Firefox if it isn’t already doing so).But he says it works.

The final product will certainly look a lot sleeker than the image above, but apparently the development team needs to spend some time working on the software before working out the hardware details.

Oh, and the most exciting part? Arrington says it should be possible to produce the tablet within the price range he had been hoping for. It’s not 100% clear if that means you’ll be able to buy one for $200 or if it’ll cost about $200 to make one. But as long as the tablet has a decent display resolution, a useful touchscreen, and a long lasting battery, I can certainly see people paying between $200 and $300 for these.

Wht do you think? Would you buy an internet-only tablet, or do you prefer to have a little PC processing power in your portables?

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6 replies on “The $200 TechCrunch tablet inches closer to reality”

  1. What OS is going to run Firefox? How will it recognize handwriting?

    It seems to me this project is more software than hardware. Linux handwriting recognition is primitive compared to Microsoft’s or Apple’s, so you’re looking at paying for an OS license also. Even if you do only run one app.

  2. My hope has been for such a machine. I’m still doing research so the only apps I need are on my main desktop. If I could access web apps, surf, email, and remote desktop to my machine at home, I don’t see why I would want a dual core laptop. This seems perfect. For battery life does it do the OLPC trick of having a separate chip relieve the CPU of display refresh? That would be quite sweet. I like the concept.

  3. That “shitty” little net tablet of yours is looking like a real stone tablet from the Tenth Commandments!

  4. If a useful pdf-reader is on board and the price about $200 – I would buy one just for fun 😀

  5. Let’s assume the final price is closer to $300 and the physical design isn’t very sleek – I’d rather use the same money for an EeePC, iPhone, or Nokia N810. Though his goal of 10″-12″ screen is nice – an is actuality is probably cheaper for his team to source. However, a prototype in a lab and a final product rarely look alike – so I’m willing to wait it out. And of course he hasn’t indicated who’s working on it… It could indeed end up very sleek.

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