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Cheap Web Tablet CrunchPad Hits Prototype B

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 10 comments

TechCrunch last year fantasised about a low cost touch screen web tablet that boots right to the browser. Today the site showed off the CrunchPad and we have to say, we’re pretty excited.

Michael Arrington writes that the idea is to get a new type of device that does web and little else into people’s hands for as little cash as possible. TechCrunch was aiming for two hundred bucks but says it’s looking more like something around the $299 mark.

“It fits perfectly on your lap while you are sitting in front of the TV, so you can look up stuff on Wikipedia or IMDB as you channel surf. It plays Flash video flawlessly so you can watch movies and TV shows on Hulu or Joost or wherever. Or listen to music on MySpace Music. Or use TokBox to have a video chat with your parents. Then check email and call it a day. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Hulu, Wikipedia, Google Docs and Gmail are the killer apps for this device.”

With regard to the guts of the device you’re looking at looking at a 12-inch touchscreen (4:3 aspect ratio, 1024×768) powered by a Via Nano processor, 1GB of RAM and a 4 GB flash drive to store the OS (Ubuntu Linux), browser and any cache, WiFi, an accelerometer, a camera and a four cell battery.

Total cost of the device, including estimates for the case, codecs and all the other bits and bobs, is just over $200. However, Arrington claims the LCD used in the prototype is pretty low quality and therefore, cost less than the $200 mentioned. The two hundred bucks includes the cost of a more expensive, higher quality LCD.

For us, this is the missing link between a netbook and the iPhone. Something you can use to browse the web, email, twitter, Facebook, look up places to eat, book flights or video chat but without eating the cost of a device that’s intended for much more. If TechCrunch can pull it off (and Mike and the lads seem to be well on their way), this is something we see being a huge hit with older people who just want to go online.

We’d like to see this make it to the production lines but according to TechCrunch, that’s not a decision they’re about to make just yet. Show your support by checking out the full article here.

Display 10 Comments.
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  • 1 Hide
    curnel_D , January 19, 2009 9:31 PM
    I want it.
  • 0 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , January 19, 2009 11:31 PM
    FINALLY!
  • 0 Hide
    DJ898 , January 20, 2009 1:14 AM
    I NEED ONE NOW!
  • 0 Hide
    fancarolina , January 20, 2009 2:33 AM
    Sounds like a waste of money when you can buy a netbook that has far more functionality for the same price.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2009 1:12 PM
    I would get a couple for my parents, at least my mother. She refuses to use the computer because it's 'too complicated' She would understand how to use this quick, just enter an address and go. Plus I would rest easy knowing if she breaks it, I can get a new one for cheap.
  • 0 Hide
    TwoDigital , January 20, 2009 1:38 PM
    Looks awesome... the virtual keyboard looks small though - seems it would be uncomfortable to type on for any length of time. Then again, look at all the Blackberry/iPhone users who can do 100wpm with their thumbs. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , January 20, 2009 2:21 PM
    quite agree, by the time it comes out, most people have netbooks for that convenience/function.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , January 20, 2009 7:50 PM
    I think I'd actually prefer one of these to a netbook. Sizeable screen, touch interface, thin-n-light, interwebs.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 23, 2009 11:11 AM
    I am looking for something very similar and in large numbers...whom to contact and how?
  • 0 Hide
    gmeader , March 6, 2009 7:49 PM
    Better Product for $299: Touch Book
    http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/
    The specifications

    * 9.4" x 7" x 1.4" for 2 lbs (with keyboard)
    * ARM Texas Instruments OMAP3 chip
    * 1024x600 8.9'' screen
    * Storage: 8GB micro SD card
    * Wifi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth
    * 3-dimensional accelerometer
    * Speakers, micro and headphone
    * 6 USB 2.0 (3 internal, 2 external, 1 mini)
    * 10h to 15 hours of battery life
    And it's all opensource, hardware and software.