The highly-anticipated CrunchPad gets a cool new aluminium-clad look as the touchscreen Web tablet ‘built by geeks for geeks’ moves towards a July debut.
The designers of the CrunchPad
have released shots of the “near-final industrial design” for the 12 inch touchscreen Web tablet, which combines an Atom processor with Ubuntu OS and a Webkit-based browser into a device purpose-built for Web access.
The revised design drops the plastic case of earlier prototypes for a slimmer and more robust aluminium chassis.
The new-look CrunchPad is definitely heading towards becoming a piece of geek chic
“This launch prototype is another significant step forward from the last prototype” writes CrunchPad creator, TechCrunch founder and alphageek Michael Arrington
“The screen is now flush with the case and we’ve decreased the overall thickness to about 18 mm. I believe the device now actually looks better than the original concept design we published last summer.”
Arrington admits that the aluminium case “is more expensive than plastic” but hopefully the CrunchPad won’t tip past the US$300 target price.
The first working prototypes are due before the month is out and will precede a “special press and user event in July in Silicon Valley” at which the CrunchPad will make its public debut, hopefully accompanied by a release date and price.
One of the CrunchPad's roles is to play Web-based streaming video content
The CrunchPad boots directly to the Webkit-based browser, says Arrington. “The operating system exists solely to handle the hardware drivers and run the browser and associated applications.”
“The idea is to turn it on, bypass any desktop interface and go directly to Firefox running in a modified Kiosk mode that effectively turns the browser into the operating system for the device. Add Gears for offline syncing of Google Docs, email, etc., and Skype for communication and you have a machine that will be almost as useful as a desktop but cheaper and more portable than any laptop or tablet PC.”
The 12.1 inch touchscreen is flanked by a Webcam, speakers and a
microphone for Skype video-conferencing. Internet connection is via
Wi-Fi. Expansion is limited to a single USB port, with only two more
jacks for power and headphon
Hmmmm... could this be a Kindle-killer for the masses?