I’ve been a tablet-fan since the now-infamous CrunchPad was announced, long before the iPad. As much as I love my iPod Touch, it’s small screen makes it less than ideal for casual surfing on the couch. In my opinion, five or seven inch tablets make little sense if portability is not a requirement, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for nine or ten inch tablets, preferably with Android.
Let me be very clear about this. I think the iPad is a very well-designed and made product. If anyone but Apple had made it I’d already have one. But I don’t want to be tied to iTunes, and I certainly don’t want the manufacturer controlling what I can and can’t do with it. That’s why I’m glad that a couple of interesting competitors were just revealed at CES.
More Promising new tablets!
I’ve pointed out this brilliant piece by Wired before. If you haven’t read it you should. It’s about how netbooks changed the computer industry, and ended, at least for some uses, the arms race towards ever greater performance. But there’s another thing that makes these tiny laptops very important, and that’s innovation. Hardware limitations and new use cases have forced software and hardware developers to come up with new solutions. Since the launch of the original Eee-PC nearly two years ago now I’ve spotted a number of really cool innovative projects that would probably not have existed without the netbook phenomenon.
More Why netbooks are important: Innovation
TechCrunch just posted an update regarding their CrunchPad project. And there’s a ‘launch prototype’, which I assume is somewhat like a ‘release client’ in software development. Feature complete and ready for a last round of testing. The new renderings look even slicker than before, and there’s a nice video of the previous prototype in action that hints at what the software is going to be like. I just knew these prototypes were further along than they’d have us believe back then.
More Crunchpad launch prototype looks like dreams come true
First of all let me point out that I’m no expert at hardware prototyping. I’ve never done anything like that, and am not familiar with the steps involved in getting a product launch-ready. But still, common sense tells me the unboxing experience is probably one of the things you’re going to be testing last, right?
When leaked Crunchpad images appeared online this week, Michael Arrington, who runs the project was very quick to point out that this was an early prototype. But is it? Arrington’s comments sounded a bit irritated to me. As if a his big surprise had been spoiled.
My guess, and I do mean guess, is that Crunchpad is a lot closer to becoming a product than the team is willing to admit. This may be wishful thinking, but why else would there be nice, colourful boxes in the pictures?
I have to admit that I missed the original post about this device, but when I stumbled across the protoype announcement today I couldn’t help but get excited. If you’ve been following this blog you’ll remember my little quest for the perfect at-home-on-the-couch internet device. After considering, among others, the Nokia N800 I ended up getting an Eee-PC. But it looks like the Crunchpad is what I really wanted all along. And still do.
More Crunchpad: An e-book reader for the web