Linked by David Adams on Mon 30th Nov 2009 17:51 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Michael Arrington's promising CrunchPad Tablet PC device was due for imminent launch, but, due to what Arrington claims was an attempt by his business partner to cut him out of the deal because of "pressure from shareholders," the ownership of the intellectual property is now in dispute. As a result, the project will almost certainly move into a the lawsuit and recrimination phase, and the CrunchPad will likely never be released.
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.. make real sense. Everthing else would be dead anyways.

I need a tablet that is is Youtube player and Kindle/Nook in one device.

And it needs to be cheap.

Reply Score: 1

Damn shame
by orestes on Mon 30th Nov 2009 18:55 UTC
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Looked like a cool little toy.
Should be interesting to hear the other side of this one, and the inevitable lawsuits that follow

Reply Score: 3

Comment by miserj
by miserj on Mon 30th Nov 2009 20:06 UTC
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OK so it's not completely the same but there still is Always Innovating's little pad

(you can easily remove the keyboard part)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Mon 30th Nov 2009 20:47 UTC
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the reason we haven't gotten a cheap pad yet is because there is nothing to run on it unless you make the software yourself. chrome OS will change this in a big way soon enough. it will be easy as shelling peanuts for any of the cheap asian ODMs to make an ARM pad using chrome OS, and from there the software guys of the world can put on whatever they want

Edited 2009-11-30 20:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Luminair
by spiderman on Tue 1st Dec 2009 09:06 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
spiderman Member since:

Chrome OS? WTF? Out of the several hundred linux distros, and the several tens of BSD and opensolaris distros, there was nothing to put on a tablet, but now thanks to Google's Chrome OS at last there is something? What does Chrome OS do better than webconverger exactly?

Edited 2009-12-01 09:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by charlieg on Tue 1st Dec 2009 10:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
charlieg Member since:

But Chrome is by Google, don't you know? That makes it better than anything else by default. Because, obviously, Google never do anything imperfectly, and won't ever become a giant corporation driven by profits and squeezing customers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 1st Dec 2009 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:

lets start with customer support and go from there

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by spiderman on Tue 1st Dec 2009 13:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
spiderman Member since:

Webconverger will provide free of charge email support for 30 days. We also offer a money back guarantee for 30 days.

Comprehensive support options are available, please get in touch with sales.

Are you sure Google does better? What does it do better in customer support exactly?

Edited 2009-12-01 13:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 1st Dec 2009 15:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:

in this case the ODM is the customer but I guess you made my point

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Luminair
by spiderman on Tue 1st Dec 2009 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Luminair"
spiderman Member since:

I still don't get your point though. What does Chrome OS do better than webconverger? What exactly in their customer support is better? Webconverger is stable and has long term support, whereas Chrome OS is still vaporware.
Webconverger is an example out of hundreds of linux distros. Why exactly do you think we need to wait for Chrome OS in order to use a tablet?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 1st Dec 2009 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:

"we" dont need to do anything. hardware companies built the tablet, not us. since you're so sure of yourself maybe you should pitch your idea to asus and see what they say

Reply Score: 2

Big Giant Head
by Karitku on Mon 30th Nov 2009 20:55 UTC
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Perhaps CrunchPad was too small for Arringtons ego thus it exploded. By time this farse is over we all will have Lenove X200 which is small for mobility but big enough to be practical and light yet powerful enough to run 21st century software. And hopefully by then cost less than 1000 bucks.

Reply Score: 1

Member since:

Is nothing but a stone without sufficient good software to make it be anything less than a paperweight.

The CrunchPad may face the same hurdles as all the other tablets in the past, if they're not careful: too small of a platform (for numbers buying it) to make it worthwhile to developers to create software for it, and no software already created for it to make it attractive enough to potential customers, thus completing the chicken/egg paradox. It may be the greatest thing since sliced bread in terms of hardware, but without the filling, it's just going to go stale! So, here's hoping they've got that filling goodness all worked out.

Reply Score: 3

Good Riddance.
by bryanv on Tue 1st Dec 2009 02:41 UTC
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I would -hate- to see someone succeed where BeIA failed 10 years ago.

Although, it would be par for the Be, Inc. course. 10 years ahead of their time at any given point.

Reply Score: 4

isn't capitalism Grrr...reat!
by mabhatter on Tue 1st Dec 2009 08:05 UTC
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This is how venture capital works most of the time. If your putting "blood and sweat" into a're doing it wrong. Capital is what makes things go.. Your "idea" isn't money and your work isn't money... capital is money and they take it away if you don't remember their rules. TechCrunch basically slit their own throats because they don't have proper IP ownership and partnership contracts drawn up. Even if they did, the market for the product is extremely slim and time sensitive and lawyers are expensive and slow.

Both sides are basically "kids in a garage". One side is working off their web page profits/day jobs and the other is working as a "corporation" off venture capital. The way capitalism works is that the guy with the capital owns the crap. As the TechCrunch guys only added hard work, contacts, perseverance, market studies, etc. they don't "own" the product in the capitalist eyes. The other guys are working for a company that somebody clearly owns and has been paying them wages, office space, etc for 2 years. It's not FAIR, but it's how the "money" works.

From what I've seen it looks like the standard last minute squeeze-out of equity "partners". One side has the physical product design, the other has marketing, contacts, software lined up... the stockholder is gambling that since they have the "product" the other team was essentially "kids on the block" just like house flippers pay college kids $500 and a case of beer for $20k of remodeling work.

The TechCrunch guys are right to shut it down and be assholes loudly and publicly. The VC is probably counting on them to roll over on terms, or to not have resources to fight for the IP rights when the other company defaults the IP back to the VC. The VC got greedy when he saw the next-gen investors TechCrunch lined up to fund the next round and wanted more of the share for himself for a big score. VC is all about 10:1 odds failing anyway...if it doesn't work the VC budgeted to lose the money, in fact it only works out if the VC gets at least 20x his money back so why not sabotage the project for a bigger score! The VC is probably in several Million, the individual TechCrunch people only 100K or so (not counting the work they did of course)

From the description, it looks like the VC-backed guys did "work for hire" for TechCrunch in that TechCrunch approached them with the idea and sought design services, and that makes very careful treading with all the hardware, software, marketing deals TechCrunch worked out... jumping contracts is something big firms really frown upon. (although the big retail and tech firms are pretty shady too) This VC is hopefully going to find out very quickly the deals were with TechCrunch and not "the product".

In the end, the product is a "touch screen netbook" anybody could have made. The design/manufacturing company probably holds the designs and shipping addresses for the handful of key parts that are unique so the VC can fire everybody (to clean up the IP... even the current CEO will be gone too, haha) and make another one "just" like it to shop around.

In reality guys like TechCruch get the "Woz" treatment and end up with "jobs" or single-digit stakes at best when the product does ship. Even Steve Jobs only held a small percent of Apple after it went big and all the VCs and IPO brokers got their first shares... that's how he got ousted. Guys that solely own like Perrot or Gates are a very lucky few that managed to get the contracts with big "fair" players with "standard" terms (IBM & GM) first and not have to share with other investors in the "normal" fashion.

Venture Capital is the opposite of how we generally think corporations work because where a large holder of stock at Microsoft can't walk in and take 5% of the typewriters, cash, and chairs, the way VC is structured they can do just that because it's not "stock" yet...if they call in the debt they can just take "their ball" and go home or you take the new terms.

What's sad is that this isn't about this situation all, or contracts, or fairness, or hard work and ethical living.. it's about "score" on a balance sheet for somebody that probably wanted extra shopping money for x-mas or a write off on this year's tax form. The hard work of people and making a good product be damned. Go Capitalism, yeah baby!

Reply Score: 4

Slambert666 Member since:

However, there are several problems in this story.

Problem 1:
This is not a $300 device, only in fantasy land do you get a 12" capacitive touch screen a custom battery assembly and the innards of a netbook for $300.
Even a cut down, low quality device like an iPhone costs $150 factory gate.
Looks like the CrunchPad is really a $600 device.

Problem 2:
He claims that he has investors lined up, but decided to wait. Well this is just plain BS or could a symptom that he is out of touch with reality.

Problem 3:
"It went hours without crashing", This is sales speak for "The S**T does not work".

So the device is going to be twice as expensive as planned, the product does not work, no tangible investors in sight and a key player in the project is out of touch with reality.

It is fully understandable that some of the partners got cold feet, but probably 6 months too late.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by motang
by motang on Tue 1st Dec 2009 13:38 UTC
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If this is true, I kinda feel sad. I was looking forward to having one of these at home as a couch reading computer for blogs, wikipedia, and stuff. Oh well, I am sure there will be something like a tablet out there soon that is inexpensive enough. ;)

Reply Score: 1