Michael Arrington's post on creating a cheap web tablet is generating a lot of discussion on the internet and as a mobile enthusiast I wanted to add some of my thoughts to the discussion. There is a device available now that has dropped down as low as US$299.99 recently that runs an excellent Mozilla-based browser and has much more functionality than Arrington is asking for. If you took out the GPS receiver and maybe even the keyboard from the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Nokia could probably produce one for around US$200. Actually, the Nokia N800 model can be upgraded to the latest Tablet OS 2008 and that is available for just around US$200 so that may be a good alternative that is already available.
The N800/N810 devices run on Maemo Linux and there is quite a community of developers always working to make the device better and better. Check out the Featured Maemo Apps site to see how much you can do with these Nokia Internet Tablets. There is also the excellent Maemo.org site and Internet Tablet Talk community site that you should visit.
Michael also wants the device to run Skype and the N800/N810 do this wonderfully. I actually kept in touch with my family while on a couple of European trips using the N800/N810 connected via a WiFi hotspot with Skype and the client has been around for over a year now.
As Michael thinks more about this endeavor, he may want to chat with Kevin Tofel who has been using his UMPC in the cloud only now for 44 days and has lots of experiences trying to get things done with web services. I would actually like to see Kevin's same experiment ran on the Nokia N800 or N810. I think if Nokia wanted to sell more of these devices, they should think about marketing it more as a "cloud" computer now that there are more and more web services available. I know when I showed off the N800 to family at recent events they said that the device was all they need since it lets them check email, surf the sites they want to view, and still perform some other tasks like word processing, media playback, and more.