Why Would You Want The CrunchPad?

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?

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

6 thoughts on “Why Would You Want The CrunchPad?

  1. At $300, I’d be much more interested in it than a NIT after using 2 of them, but I also have no idea who the NIT’s are for also. I think he’s trying to capture the part of the netbook market that wants something that looks “cool” to use (but only for basic tasks) and doesn’t cost as much as a tablet PC. When I sold them, a decent HP tablet laptop ran well over $1000 and still didn’t have comparable specs compared to everything else on the table.

    The only other touch screen alternative was HP’s meant-to-be-stationary 22″ Touchsmart “desktop”, but that’s anything but portable and also runs over $1000.

  2. At $300, I’d be much more interested in it than a NIT after using 2 of them, but I also have no idea who the NIT’s are for also. I think he’s trying to capture the part of the netbook market that wants something that looks “cool” to use (but only for basic tasks) and doesn’t cost as much as a tablet PC. When I sold them, a decent HP tablet laptop ran well over $1000 and still didn’t have comparable specs compared to everything else on the table.

    The only other touch screen alternative was HP’s meant-to-be-stationary 22″ Touchsmart “desktop”, but that’s anything but portable and also runs over $1000.

  3. To me, the CrunchPad is essentially a netbook-class machine with a few things left out to try to bring the price and battery budget down even further and simplify the use. Also, just because the unit boots into the browser doesn’t mean that it can’t possibly be used for something else. I don’t how they implemented the browser/OS, but you have to admit that booting into the browser ads a twist to the typical laptop.

    In terms of the Nokia Internet tablet, Michael has an iPhone and my guess is he’s looking for something larger that’s more comfortable to read over longer periods of time. Plus the iPhone doesn’t support yet a full browser experience. The Kindle, in contrast, is nicely light and great for reading things such as books, however, it doesn’t support color, nor the updating required of an animated web page or video stream. If you’re very Internet biased that’s not going to work either.

    Now, does the CrunchPad need a keyboard? If you vote yes, then a classic Netbook is probably what you want. Just like if you think you need a physical keyboard for a phone, you’d pick something other than an iPhone. The Dell Mini is a reasonable choice as you point out. For those, like me, that are comfortable using the onscreen keyboard on the iPhone for Twittering, etc, a keyboardless Netbook-sized device that has touch may just work. There isn’t anything like that on the market right now that gives an iPhone-like touch experience in a Netbook.

    We’ll have to see.

  4. To me, the CrunchPad is essentially a netbook-class machine with a few things left out to try to bring the price and battery budget down even further and simplify the use. Also, just because the unit boots into the browser doesn’t mean that it can’t possibly be used for something else. I don’t how they implemented the browser/OS, but you have to admit that booting into the browser ads a twist to the typical laptop.

    In terms of the Nokia Internet tablet, Michael has an iPhone and my guess is he’s looking for something larger that’s more comfortable to read over longer periods of time. Plus the iPhone doesn’t support yet a full browser experience. The Kindle, in contrast, is nicely light and great for reading things such as books, however, it doesn’t support color, nor the updating required of an animated web page or video stream. If you’re very Internet biased that’s not going to work either.

    Now, does the CrunchPad need a keyboard? If you vote yes, then a classic Netbook is probably what you want. Just like if you think you need a physical keyboard for a phone, you’d pick something other than an iPhone. The Dell Mini is a reasonable choice as you point out. For those, like me, that are comfortable using the onscreen keyboard on the iPhone for Twittering, etc, a keyboardless Netbook-sized device that has touch may just work. There isn’t anything like that on the market right now that gives an iPhone-like touch experience in a Netbook.

    We’ll have to see.

  5. If it were 4in smaller in screen size, the platform would be nearly perfect as an ebook reader and “better” document management solution. The idea of the browser-as-OS is a stout one, and whether the keybard is hardware or not isn’t a biggie.

    Lots of screen for the price, but without support for other input devices, its about as niche as the blog is.

  6. If it were 4in smaller in screen size, the platform would be nearly perfect as an ebook reader and “better” document management solution. The idea of the browser-as-OS is a stout one, and whether the keybard is hardware or not isn’t a biggie.

    Lots of screen for the price, but without support for other input devices, its about as niche as the blog is.

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