Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

Summary: Last summer Michael Arrington posted on his plans to build a $200 web tablet and it now seems that there is a Prototype B being shown off. The device is known as the CrunchPad and looks like it will cost $299 instead of $200. The device has a 12 inch touchscreen display and is powered by a Via Nano processor. Is there a market or need for such a web surfing tablet?

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Last summer Michael Arrington posted on his plans to build a $200 web tablet and it now seems that there is a Prototype B being shown off. The device is known as the CrunchPad and looks like it will cost $299 instead of $200. The device has a 12 inch touchscreen display and is powered by a Via Nano processor.

Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

Current specifications of the CrunchPad include:

  • 12 inch 1024x768 pixel resolution display with 4:3 aspect ratio
  • Linux Ubuntu operating system
  • 4GB flash drive
  • WiFi
  • Accelerometer for flipping the display and viewing web content
  • Webcam
  • Four cell battery

There are a few photos and a couple of videos of the current prototype in action. The article states that the display on the current prototype is less expensive and lower quality than what you will see on the $299 model. A 12 inch display seems a bit large for that resolution and I think a 10 inch device would be lighter (currently 3 pounds) and more user friendly.

With netbooks in the $299 price range, do you think there is a market for something like this tablet? Microsoft has tried to promote Tablet PCs for a couple of years (granted at a much higher cost), but people seem to be much more interested in the notebook form factor with a keyboard. I am not sure they will like the experience of a resistive touch screen display, especially if they have ever tried the capacitive display on the iPhone or iPod touch. Capacitive is so much more finger friendly and usable for something like this tablet.

Thanks to jkOnTheRun for the heads-up.

Topics: Hardware, Browser, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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15 comments
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  • General Purpose Computer.

    I don't see it flying. Keyboard is King. It depends on the applications. In the living room as a media center control, etc, it will probably find a market. The difficulty, when you need to type and type a lot, touch just doesn't cut it.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • Agreed, but

      Agreed, but what is better, a larger touch keyboard or a smaller, mobile-phone-style full keyboard? I'll take the larger size touch one. Most of my errors while typing on my iPod touch are from hitting the wrong key, and I completely attribute that to the small size of the keys.
      Real World
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    I believe tools such as these have a large potential market for students and say..traveling buisness people. As a graduate student i have been waiting anxiously (constantly searching for product information and possible future release dates) for something that is AFFORDABLE and allows me to comfortably read journal articles in *.pdf* format and I have wanted a touch screen so that I could take notes on those pdf articles. This would save me thousands of printed pages a year (not to mention the forests that it would save also). It is uncomfortable to read articles on a laptop, something like this would be easy hold in lap and read or surf the internet on the couch. Also check out upcoming plastic paper products at http://www.plasticlogic.com/product.html. Neet stuff!
    jivester
    • A great tool

      If it came with hadwriting recognition software or some other tool to easy write on it (even if it is just images, like virtual book)
      maalmike@...
  • I would answer yes...but...

    It is not like there has not been a myriad of these devices old & new....
    It has been making them actually available in common channels......
    At a reasonable price point.

    I have seen ealier (discontinued) Fujitsu tablets for sale for under $200.
    There are also current things like the Nokia n800~n810.
    and there were earlier projects like http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT2655123453.html


    The one I currently have the most interest in is the Gigabyte m912 with the gOS fastboot (no need for windows at all) http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/12/02/gos-and-gigabyte-to-launch-cloud-netbook/1

    which was introduced at CES.....

    Another interesting item was the Asus Keeeboard computer w/touchscreen.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10144584-1.html


    It is odd how many of the more interesting items at CES never actually make it to market? Remember the Moxie?......
    LazLong
  • Why not pair with Amazon and sell books for this?

    Would need some way to store the book. May not be as power miser like the Kindle with its e-Ink display.
    Roque Mocan
  • too much! better size would be 8.5x11. (nt)

    :)

    .
    wessonjoe
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    I'll take two!
    nospam@...
  • Naw - 6" x 10" would be sufficient

    Something between a PDA/Smartphone and a micro-laptop like the EeePC.
    Edouin
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    Depends on how much porn you look at ;)
    nothingness
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    My ideal tablet size would be 8.5 x 11 and it would incorporate bluetooth. I think there are plenty of opportunities for a tablet pc like this. Just needs to be reasonably priced for bulk selling.
    Occamz_Razer
  • CrunchPad????????

    Sounds like an exercise tool.
    3dguru
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    The Tablet PC is a pretty good platform. The Linux folks can't come close to the functionality that you have with Windows Vista. Linux is such a joke of operating systems.
    jfreedle2@...
  • RE: Is the Crunchpad Linux tablet a viable web surfing device at $299?

    Crunchpad with plastic display and WinXP or Vista would be worth quite a lot to me. Currently must use lap top in field in direct light/sun light in Ag research environment. PITA! Would gladly pay up to $1000.00 for such a device!
    richdave
  • Better $299 product: 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

    All OpenSource: hardware and software! Schematics published on website,
    gmeader