Crunchpad: An e-book reader for the web

Crunchpad prototypeI 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.

What I love about this prototype is the simplicity. It’s a browser-only touchscreen device with a big enough screen to be able to use a real full-size browser. While smaller screen devices have neat little tricks for dealing with scaling an such, there’s no real alternative for screen real estate. For the full web experience, you need a screen that’s not going to fit in your pocket.

The prototype runs Ubuntu with a custom Webkit-based browser. I hope Flash runs well enough to enjoy video at full screen. The Eee-PC isn’t quite fast enough to do that, but it’s really Adobe that’s to be blamed. Flash is really very slow on Linux. Even my living room PC (a 3GHz Pentium IV) has trouble with full screen Flash video under Ubuntu.

So what we have here is the illegitimate love child of a tablet PC and a netbook. An e-book reader for the web. And just exactly what I’ve been looking for. I hope TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington gets this to the market, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sells millions of them. If they hit the $200-$300 price range they’re aiming for I’ll be waiting in line.


  1. This looks really cool. I may join you in line if they actually come out. Thanks for the post!

    – Dave

    Comment by David at — January 20, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  2. It looks interesting, but can’t you do the same thing with an iPhone?

    Comment by Signupandmakemoney — January 31, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

  3. The Iphone is too much work to relax and browse. I use an OlPC, and sometimes use it as a portable device and to catch up on reading while on the bus or trains. have considered the EEEpc and the N800 so i was glad to see this post. As I spend more time on the web I will not risk my eyesight to be one of the crowd. I will also not read anything that is too small or i constantly have to navigate. Thanks for expressing what i have been saying. Anything smaller just won’t do! I actually check my sites against the OLPC as a measure of scale.
    I was told There is another N800 in the works (not the 81) do you have any info on it!

    Comment by bonnie — February 3, 2009 @ 5:22 am

  4. The edges are poorly designed for gripping. They should have an indentation for surer grip.

    Comment by ebbish — February 27, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  5. My guess is that if this ever makes it to a commercial release it will look quite a bit different. The prototype is, how should I put this gently, far from sexy…

    Comment by Roy — February 28, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  6. Link: Crunchpad: Does this look like a prototype to you? | Roy Tanck's weblog
  7. Link: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 initial impressions - Roy Tanck's weblog