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TechCrunch tablet prototype take 2

TechCrunch is sharing today details on their first fully functioning CrunchPad prototype.

Great to see they’ve made this much progress.

We’re still talking prototype here, but already we can see the impact of the decisions they’ve been making. The screen? 12″, 1024×768, 4:3 aspect ratio. The processor? A Via Nano. 1GB or RAM, 4GB flash driver, Ubuntu OS, resistive digitizer, 3 lbs, 4 cells, webcam, wifi, accelerometer (for rotating the display), 10 seconds to boot, custom webKit browser (including custom home page as shown in photo above to aid touch).

Interesting how x86 generic the team went with the hardware. That’s they way I’d go with a DIY project too. It’s widely available. For a fully engineered web Tablet product, though, I imagine an ARM processor would be the way to go. You’d get a lighter, thinner, cheaper, system though you’d need to resolve the Flash viewer issue. Adobe would be about the only one that could help here. Flash is too important for YouTube videos and the like to not have great support for it. So I fully appreciate the decision to not go with the ARM processor even if it would create a better physical product.

That may be the lesson here. What TechCrunch is really showing here is the viability of the DIY market. Even if they decide not to build and sell their own Tablet, I hope they open up all the specs for what they have and the supply chain. I imagine there are quite a few people like myself that would build one.

The custom browser looks like it has a ways to go too. Again, nothing surprising. First things first. Michael mentions that they have a custom home page to facilitate touch. From the looks of it it appears the page has some thumbnails and some large icons for common websites.

Price? Somewhere in the $299 range.

Personally, as long as the device is going to be x86, I’d like to see a better digitizer, maybe something capacitive. Yes, it would add significantly to the price, however, it could open up a variety of new apps. As a developer, that would be my vote. I can appreciate a low-end version of the device, but I think we’re looking at more of a DIY device than anything, so offering a step up in the hardware makes sense for some, like me.

Looking forward to the next step in this project.

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