CrunchPad Update

imageCrunchPad is coming! told you several weeks ago about this upcoming inexpensive Internet access device. There’s been sparse news since. But now a Singapore newspaper reports that the CrunchPad should be available in time for the Christmas holidays. The specs include a  custom OS, 12” touchscreen, 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, integrated WiFi and 3G, a USB port. Size is 12.77 x 7.83 x 0.74 inches, weight 1.2kg. Pricing is expected to be in the range of $399.

So far, sounds good. But still several question marks, including …

No storage space. Instead, the device will run web-based programs. This is cloud computing to an extreme. The article elaborates: “This means that editing a document, for instance, requires users to access the relevant software via the Internet. Once a document is completed, it will be saved via the Internet too.”

My first reaction was discomfort. But then I realized that I was not likely to use the CrunchPad for office applications. And my email is all on the cloud anyway.

Yet I still wonder about no storage space. I’d have to download my favorite video each time I want to replay it? And what about Internet caching?

Another unknown is the much-rumored but yet to be confirmed 10” Apple tablet, also rumored to be available by the end of this year. It’s hard to speculate on the effect of one speculative device on another speculative device. Nevertheless, my speculation is the two devices would not be direct competitors. The Apple tablet’s price point likely will be twice as much and have a different form factor (particularly thickness and weight). Yet, why have both devices?

The Singapore newspaper report quotes one of the developers: “It’s two different market segments. The Apple tablet will likely be applications-driven. Ours will be Web-driven.” But this differentiation doesn’t seem convincing to me. A user who wants to play a video isn’t focusing on application vs. web driven. The user just wants to play the video with a minimum of difficulty.

Crunchpad Specification Update raises further questions. Basically, Chippy believes that this originally very inexpensive and simple device may be the victim of specifications (and price) creep. Though he also raises the alternate possibility that the Singapore newspaper article just didn’t get it right. Wouldn’t be the first time a newspaper missed the boat on a tech article. In support of his theory, he points out that the title of the Singapore newspaper report is “World’s first tablet PC.” Hardly.

Then there’s Why The CrunchPad Is Toast. This article believes the CrunchPad is doomed because (i) it has no local storage or apps and (ii) will be crushed by the Apple tablet and Apple’s vaunted marketing machine. My take: The obituary seems premature since we don’t yet have definitive specs of the CrunchPad. Indeed, we don’t yet have confirmation that the Applet tablet even exists.

Presumably with a November release date, more (and hopefully accurate) details should be forthcoming soon.

[via Slashgear]

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