TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington may have failed in his quest to develop a $200 portable internet tablet. But it’s starting to look like he’s come pretty darn close. Last night some images of a nearly production quality prototype leaked out, and both TechCrunch and CrunchGear have confirmed that these images are the real deal. So it looks like Arrington did manage to bring together the resources to build a cheap tablet. Just not as cheap as he’d hoped. It’ll cost about $250 to manufacture the CrunchPad, which means it will likely sell for around $300 or more.

A few years ago, that would have been an amazing price. Today, you can pick up plenty of netbooks with similar specs plus touch-typable keyboards. Arrington admits that text entry using the on-screen keyboard on the CrunchPad prototype is awkward. You’re not going to want to write your doctoral dissertation or even lengthy emails or instant messages on this tablet.

Right now we know that this model has a 12 inch capacitative touchscreen and an Intel Atom processor. It’s designed primarily for running a web browser, video chat application and a handful of other programs. There’s still a lot we don’t know. How uick does it boot? What’s the screen resolution? How long doe s the battery last? How much does it weigh? Can you use it with a USB or Bluetooth keyboard?

According to CrunchGear there should be more information available in the next week or two. But given what we do know, what do you think? It’s sure pretty. But is it useful? Or would you rather have a netbook with a 160GB hard drive, full keyboard, and touchpad?

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11 replies on “Mike Arrington’s CrunchPad leaps toward reality – do you care?”

  1. Im not paying over 300$ for a netbook and Im not planning to pay more than 200$ for something to read in the bathroom.

    Price first, weight/portability second and battery life/quick boot third.

    At 200$, I’d get one. At 300$, Id think about it.

  2. No, I wouldn’t touch anything Arrlington had a hand in with a trillon foot pole.

    On a more pragmatic side, slates are dumb. I’d rather have a convertable with a full keyboard. However, I’m not sure a tablet is ever useful.

  3. I pretty much agree with what a lot of others have said here. Why go with Atom? Seriously, this thing would’ve been cheaper and had longer batter life with an arm! Go with one of the more recent cortex chips(Like the Pandora Project is) and you could even have accelerated 3d and video for cool desktop effects, gaming, etc.

    Heck…this might be blasphemy, but why not go with an xburst? That would’ve brought the price WAY down…but possibly cost performance too much.

    Shoulda gone CortexA8 or something. This is just too much for what the device needs to be.

  4. Interesting if they can get the price down into the $100-200 range. I’d love to have one as an e-book, digital manga reader, and video player.

    Drop the Atom in favor of an ARM solution, scrimp a bit on screen size (9″ or even 7″ is enough) running minimal linux and you would have a kindle killer.

    For a unit like this you really want a minimal cost to make them near disposable.

  5. Nope. Can’t say I care. It’s too large, and it doesn’t do enough.

    Not that it matters. I’ll be surprised if we even get a chance to buy one of these.

    As far as I’m concerned, this thing’s vaporware.

  6. Sounds kinda useless. With an Atom you can never expect to get an all day battery on the thing without making it too heavy. Should have used an ARM. The only point to Intel Inside is running Windows so unless the guy is keeping Windows as ‘plan b’ there wasn’t a technical reason to go with Atom.

    Same argument as was made by many with the OLPC and we see now that Windows was at least Plan B and probably Plan A with waving the Penguin flag to get a good deal on the price.

  7. I would LOVE something like that if it only had a full operating system. With the capacitive touchscreen people will be able to draw on it. But then what is the point of a capacitive on such a device when a passive touchscreen like the ipod touch’s provides finger controlled UI?

    Thinking about it I think Brad made a mistake…

    Anyway, at a reasonable price would it destroy the amazon kindle?

  8. Yes, I would rather have a keyboard, touchpad, and 160GB hard drive.

    $300+ for a giant iPod Touch?
    I’ll pass.

  9. Yes, I do care. While I would have preferred a smaller device (10 inch screen max), I do want something along the lines of a larger-form-factor iphone for in-the-house walking-around/sitting-on-the-couch surfing/RSSing/skyping/chatting. A keyboard isn’t necessarily required (as proven by the fact that I do a lot of that today on my iPhone instead of my netbook).

    Obviously, a lot depends on the quality of the software and things like instant-on.

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