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19 January 2009, 08:37

TechCrunch's prototype CrunchPad runs Ubuntu

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Concept picture of the CrunchPad
TechCrunch have shown a working prototype of the CrunchPad running Ubuntu Linux. Last July, Michael Arrington grew tired of waiting for a $200 web tablet and announced that he had decided to work on making such a device a reality, although some observers suggested that this was just an attempt to garner publicity for Arrington's blog. In a posting on the site today, Arrington brought readers up to date with the progress on the device.

The device has a 12 inch 4:3 aspect ratio, 1024x768 touch screen, with a Via Nano, 1GB of memory and a 4GB flash drive for the operating system. It includes wifi, an accelerometer, a camera and a four cell battery. Arrington estimates the cost at just over $200, but says that, at that cost, the three pound device would have a better screen than the prototype. A full install of Ubuntu Linux is being used as the operating system, with a WebKit based browser providing the user interface. The software is being developed by Fusion Garage, a Singapore based group, who's website is somewhat light on detail. Arrington says they have been working of drivers and a functional virtual keyboard for text entry.

The project has now got a team leader, Louis Monier, who was the founder and CTO of AltaVista and has also worked with eBay, Google and Cuil. Monier left Cuil last year and has been working with Fusion Garage, Dynacept (who designed the case) and Via, on creating the latest prototype.

Arrington says the CrunchPad has seen "quite a bit of interest from the investment community" but that they are deciding on the future of the project and whether or not to spin it out as a separate company. heise open would like to suggest another option – open source the hardware design, but we aren't holding our breath.


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