updated 08:45 am EST, Mon January 19, 2009
News site TechCrunch today revealed that it's much closer to launching a promised low-cost, touchscreen Internet tablet. Referred to now as the CrunchPad, the device has a 12-inch, 1024x768 touch display but includes netbook-grade components to keep the price and size down: the nearly button-free device will use a VIA Nano processor, 1GB of memory and a 4GB flash drive that are just enough to hold an interface that boots directly to a custom WebKit-based browser in Ubuntu Linux.
The tablet also contains a webcam, Wi-Fi, USB and VGA, and is devoted to reading and interacting with rich websites. Flash and other video codecs are included and let the tablet watch video from Hulu or participate in live video chats on web services that talk to the camera from within the browser. An on-screen keyboard lets users write text without a peripheral.
Currently in a second prototype that is nearing a final "lockdown" of its design and feature set, the CrunchPad is close enough in development that it's estimated to sell for $299, or less than many non-touch netbooks and as much as touchscreen media players like the iPod touch. Whether or not it will enter mass production is unknown and would purportedly involve the technology news website splitting off the hardware business into a separate company.