If the Crunchpad is dead, what's next for ultracheap Ed tech?

The fabled "Crunchpad", an ultracheap tablet PC dreamed up by TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, as has been widely reported on ZDNet and elsewhere, looks like it will remain vaporware. Bummer.

The fabled "Crunchpad", an ultracheap tablet PC dreamed up by TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, as has been widely reported on ZDNet and elsewhere, looks like it will remain vaporware. Bummer.

Not that any of us were holding our breath for the device. However, a $300 tablet obviously would be incredibly useful in the education market, as well as consumer spaces where the (also vaporware) Apple Tablet is just going to be too pricey. As I noted earlier this year,

The so-called “CrunchPad” just might be the 1:1 device that we’ve been looking for if prices can be kept low enough...I think we can all see where this might go in a classroom. Slate applications that run on Linux, easy access to Internet resources, e-reader applications, note-taking applications (have you used Xournal? It makes note-taking as easy as paper), etc., could all be used in class.

Of course, we have Intel's convertible Classmate tablet and Dell recently added touch support to its Latitude 2100. But if we could undercut the prices of these products by a couple hundred dollars in a slick form factor, then we'd have something really compelling.

OK, so Michael Arrington isn't going to do it for us (surprise). What's next? We're right on the edge of some very powerful, very personal 1:1 technology. The Nook is about as close as we've gotten, but as Android explodes, Ubuntu refines its mobile/MID platform, and Windows 7 takes off, Ed Tech stands to reap the benefits. What do you think? Is a cheap tablet just around the corner? Or is some other cool form factor waiting to fill the spaces that Apple's and Arrington's tablets haven't managed to actually fill yet?