CrunchPad: a Keyboard-less Netbook

I admit I was skeptical when Mike Arrington first announced he wanted to build a  lightweight  Web Tablet.  Skeptical partly because I had just witnessed Ismael Ghalimi of the Office 2.0 fame feverishly work on the Redux Model 1.  I had been doubtful about his effort, too, but his energy level was just radiating, he actually convinced me, I started to believe…  But in the end, all the effort (and quite some money Ismael spent along the way) came down to nothing, he nuked the device, and the Office 2.0 Conference gadget became an HP 2133 Mini-Note PC.

Fast-forward half a year, and TecCrunch is showing off a prototype.  Granted, it’s not as cool-looking as the initial sketch above, but this one is working.

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The TechCrunch Fablet

Fablet: FireFox + Tablet.  The $200 device Mike Arrington & Co wants to build:

We Want A Dead Simple Web Tablet For $200. Help Us Build It.

I can’t figure out if this is real or a joke.. but we’re far from April Fool’s Day.smile_angel

I have a strong Deja Vu feeling though.   Last year I shared a Bloggers’ table with Ismael Ghalimi at a conference and watched him feverishly work away on the Redux Model 1.  He showed me some of the documentation, in a matter of a few hours exchanged specs then placed an order with component suppliers – the guy was totally obsessed.  As skeptical as I had been before, I started to wonder if he might just be able to pull it off – his energy level was just radiating…

But in the end, all the effort (and quite some money Ismael spent along the way) came down to nothing (at least for now): The Office 2.0 Conference gadget will be an HP 2133 Mini-Note PC.

That said, the Redux Model 1 was one guy’s heroic effort, while this project will largely be crowdsourced.  Still, the hardware business is tough … I have one advice to Mike: talk to Ismael.

Update:  It is not a joke:

The reason why we announced today is because we have the manufacturing/prototype etc. setup now, along with design (which we will also post for feedback etc.)

Update (7/23): Two days later, here’s the commentary from Ismael: Where is the Redux Model 1?