Would You Buy a CrunchPad?

By  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 9:42 am

Lisa and Jackson buy a CrunchPadThe history of technology journalists getting into the computer business isn’t full of success stories (remember Adam Osborne?). But TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington and a bunch of co-conspirators have been noodling on the idea of a CrunchPad, a really cheap, simple tablet computer for surfing the Web. Yesterday, a bunch of photos “leaked” out, including some of CrunchPad that looked suspiciously close to final–in fancy boxes, yet. Then Arrington chimed in and gave an update on the project, but said he’s not ready to talk about details on availability. We still don’t know whether the CrunchPad would be a TechCrunch-branded product, or a design that other companies could license, or, for that matter, whether there are any plans to bring it to market at all.

I’m not saying I’m itching to buy a CrunchPad, but I’ve long been interested in the idea of a hunk of hardware that was designed for Web browsing and not much of anything else. I still think I want one with a real keyboard–I’ve yet to meet an on-screen substitute that I can love unreservedly–but I’m open to being convinced that I don’t need one. (I’m also intrigued by the idea of an Apple tablet, but for some mysterious reason, nobody at Apple is talking about whether it’s really working on one.)

So does the CrunchPad, or something like it, interest you?




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15 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Zatz Says:

    I like the form. I worried about a crippled experience due to software decisions though. It’ll be interesting to see how that touchscreen operates. So, in conclusion I support a larger tablet style device (larger than an iPhone or Nokia N800), but I’m not sure THIS is the one I’d buy.

  2. JDoors Says:

    At this very moment I’m online and what am I doing? Using a keyboard. What else do people use the Web for; E-mail? Keyboards. Social networking? Keyboards. Eventual cloud computing apps? Keyboards.

    Unless ALL sites are redesigned for touchscreen-only input, I don’t see this going very far.

  3. tom b Says:

    Where are the two knobs for moving the cursor horizontally or vertically?

  4. mark hall Says:

    Yes as long as the price was right

  5. HereAndNow Says:

    This could be an interesting alternative to a netbook, if a bluetooth keyboard & mouse can be paired with it. The bluetooth keyboard would make data entry more convenient, if/when you need to do it.

  6. pond Says:

    To me, what’s most interesting is the shift in price. In the first brainstorming session, Arrington set a goal of under $200. Now in gen 2 of the prototypes, he says it could be done for $300, or ‘at $350 make a little money for the manufacturer’ or something like that.

    But at that level he’s getting into netbook land, where you can get a keyboard, hard drive with goodly storage, and a real OS with real apps along with the browser.

    In other words, it’s beginning to look like Arrington’s real-world research leads to the conclusion that the hardware is what takes up almost all the cost of making a netbook; stripping the OS — and even the hard drive and keyboard, amazingly enough — makes very little difference on the manufacturing price, and hence what must be charged retail in order to make any money on the thing.

  7. DaveZatz Says:

    Pond, A Dell could make it for $200. Heck, they already do produce a netbook at that price. Arrington doesn’t have that sort of supply chain and experience in manufacturing. What will really kill him is the ongoing support costs, though.

  8. Mike Dunham Says:

    I think I kind of agree with the above – this has no chance of success unless it’s $99 or lower.

  9. Menace Says:

    Absolutely i would buy one of these for say ~$300. I want one hanging around the living room so i can look things up quickly. Its a wonder that something just like this isnt available yet. I think Apple may have something in the works.
    But i’m sure it will be expensive.

  10. Matt Says:

    If it were cheap enough (say sub $200) then I’d get one for the living room, kitchen, bed room etc. I like the idea of having an internet’s worth of data within easy reach. Laptops are easy too but I get tired of lugging mine around. Yeah I’m lazy.

    Would be cool if they synced. So if you had one in your living room and bed room they would be the same for a given user. Or even if you had one at home and at the office.

  11. Daniel Says:

    I’m buying one when it becomes available. I want something to read read my news feeds or watch youtube videos on my couch or bed. I’ve considered laptops, but they can be so bulky. This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Everytime I hear of a new web tablet, i discover it’s a really small device. THIS is more like it. If I need to shoot off a long email, I’ll plug in a USB keyboard or pair a bluetooth board. Ideal man.

  12. A'lyric Miles Says:

    Yes i would buy this im a student and this is me as long as the price was in the rage of 200-350 i would y this its cute slick and desirable. it would totally boost my confidence if i had this piece of equipment.

  13. JD Says:

    Crunchpad is a perfect example of someone claiming how Apple, Dell, MS etc… are all raping us over high priced gadgets. Apple coming under fire weekly because their computers are expensive. Seems to me this is a great example of how expensive even the most basic pc of hardware is. If this thing was under 200 bucks It would sell just as a web browsing device, at 300 or over it won’t stand a chance with no keyboard, HDD or real OS. People will buy a netbook. The ability for Dell or HP to produce low cost devices is due to the BILLIONS these companies spend over many years in R&D and making supply chain deals to be competitive. Apple has never attempted to compete in the sub 300/400 range and it’s tablet will probably be 600 to 800 bucks and as usual sell like hotcakes.

    Bottom line, if a device like this for 200 bucks was so easy to make, it would already have been released by one of the big boys. All the bloggers saying “it took a blogger to put out a real tablet under 200 err… wait 300.. crap now maybe 400??” This was releasing in July err.. Aug nvm… sometimes in the “near future”, Ya good luck with that, Crunchpad is/was a great idea if done for under 200 bucks, but clearly with Kindle and Sony putting out products for 400/500 range as e-readers this type of device was just not practical for the price. Any company has to make a profit to support long term tech support and ongoing development, this was a pipe dream at 200 bucks and probably won’t come to the market under 400 imo. Nice concept and painted a pretty picture of what could have been, but fails to deliver once reality set in.

  14. daniel Says:

    in the time since I posted a comment, my point of view has changed. The crunchpad is either vaporware or a pending failure. $400 is too much to ask for a one trick pony.

  15. Gary Nicholas Says:

    Yes I would buy the new cruchpad tablet.
    I woud use it for traveling and the internet also I like to drqw alot
    I’m a inventor with the touch screen and a digital pen it would be nice.
    Thank you for your time on this matter.

3 Trackbacks For This Post

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