A sexy 12″ capacitive touchscreen tablet, runs Linux, boots straight into a WebKit-based browser, for 300 USD. We all want that, right? Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame, figured last year that we indeed all want something like this, and he started working on actually developing such a device. We’ve seen a few prototypes already, but the “leaked” photos published of the latest prototype are nothing short of stunning.
Arrington provides more details about the CrunchPad and the photos on his blog. The CrunchPad is a thin 12″ capacitive touchscreen tablet, powered by an Intel Atom processor. It doesn’t have a hard drive, and boots straight into a custom WebKit browser that runs on top of Linux; the entire software stack has a footprint of just 100mb. It has no keyboard, but comes with a virtual one. The device is not meant for data entry, but for “reading emails and the news, watching videos on Hulu, YouTube, etc., listening to streaming music on MySpace Music and imeem, and doing video chat via tokbox”.
The device is developed by several different people and companies. The prototype seen in the “leaked” (you’re not fooling anyone, Mike) photos is developed by Fusion Garage, both the hardware as well as the software. It now uses a custom Linux implementation (instead of previous versions using Ubuntu) and comes with the aforementioned custom WebKit-based browser.
The device actually looks pretty ready; the software seems to be working, and the device itself also looks solid and finished. The packaging looks good as well, and they appear to have quite a few of them. Who knows, maybe the CrunchPad is closer than we think.
I’ve been excited by the gdium last year and they didn’t release. Wake me up when they release something. Until then, it is just a buzz that some news sites make up in order to create ad revenue. It’s easy to make those pictures with a plastic box and the gimp, it’s harder to actually make something as cool as this AND get the industrial strength to make it available to the market while keeping the thing so cool. IF it is released one day, it will become something that runs Windows and that cost $1000.