- Apr 2, 2009
A little background for those of you who haven’t heard of the CrunchPad: This is the post that kicked off the project. I wanted something I couldn’t buy, and found people who said it could be built for a lot less than I imagined. The goal - a very thin and light touch screen computer, sans physical keyboard, that has no hard drive and boots directly to a browser to surf the web. The operating system exists solely to handle the hardware drivers and run the browser and associated applications. That’s it.
The key uses: Internet consumption. The virtual keyboard will make data entry a pain other than for entering credentials, quick searches and maybe light emails. This machine isn’t for data entry. But it is for reading emails and the news, watching videos on Hulu, YouTube, etc., listening to streaming music on MySpace Music and imeem, and doing video chat via tokbox. The hardware would consist of netbook appropriate chipsets (Intel Atom or Via Nano), at least a 12 inch screen, a camera for photos and video, speakers and a microphone. Add a single USB port, power in and sound out, and you’re done. If you want more features, this ain’t for you.
Price? it can be built for less than $250, including packaging. Add in fixed costs and other stuff you have to deal with (like returns), and you can sell it for $300 and probably not go out of business. Physical design is important, and the software is the key to winning.