New images of a nearly-finished CrunchPad came out from Michael Arrington recently, and I’m sorry, I recognize the idea of the thing is good, but I just can’t see a market for it. If you don’t know, the CrunchPad is a project from Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch. Fed up with MIDs, Michael decided he wanted to build “[a] machine as thin as possible, runs low end hardware and has a single button for powering it on and off, headphone jacks, a built in camera for video, low end speakers, and a microphone. It will have Wifi, maybe one USB port, a built in battery, half a Gigabyte of RAM, a 4-Gigabyte solid state hard drive. Data input is primarily through an iPhone-like touch screen keyboard. It runs on Linux and Firefox. It would be great to have it be built entirely on open source hardware, but including Skype for VOIP and video calls may be a nice touch, too.”
So, basically, they wanted the Nokia Internet Tablet, as mentioned here. However, now that it’s nearly finished, it has a new set of specs. Apparently, this thing is packing a 12″ capacitive display (similar to the one used on the iPhone, only bigger), runs a custom webkit browser, and, well, you can read the rest here. Basically, the thing is a 12″ touchscreen display that is really only capable of running a web browser (out of the box), and should cost around $300. Wow.
For $350, you can get the Dell Mini 9, with the same Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD (solid-state hard drive), VGA-resolution webcam, Bluetooth, etc, and a hardware keyboard. Sure, it’s $50 more, but the utility of the machine is boosted incredibly.
Like many others, I just think this CrunchPad is too late, and priced too high. Maybe at $200, it would be a decent idea, but for $300, it’s just not functional enough to really justify the cost. What do you think?