updated 09:40 am EDT, Fri April 10, 2009
CrunchPad Apr 2009 Update
An unintentional leak late Thursday has shown a major revision to TechCrunch's CrunchPad touchscreen tablet. Aside from being much thinner than older prototypes, the new version has switched from a VIA Nano processor to an Intel Atom and now has a wider, capacitive 12-inch touchscreen that should be easier to use. It also has a much more efficient software base that uses a custom Linux variant and WebKit-based browser that use just 100MB of space.
The tablet continues to be focused almost exclusively on complex web browsing and has 4GB of storage for content, a camera for photos and video on sites that support them, and a USB port for peripherals. Typing, however, is normally accomplished through an on-screen keyboard. When the hardware will ship isn't known, though the new prototype is described as much closer to the production version and has sample shipping boxes to match.
The CrunchPad was originally designed with the goal of producing a touchscreen device capable of viewing video services like Hulu and using web apps but without the cost overhead of a full computer; TC founder Michael Arrington continues to expect the full system to cost just $300, or significantly less than newer netbooks, tablet PCs and some mobile Internet devices. Many continue to expect Apple to have a large multi-touch tablet of its own and to be the closest in philosophy to the CrunchPad, though with support for media playback and other apps.