Monday, July 21, 2008

$200 Tablet From TechCrunch - Hopefully...

A friend and I have been going back and forth talking about tablets and what a good price should be for a tablet that can surf the web, doing something day-to-day tasks, and act as an ebook reader. He settled on $200. Well, guess what, dude?

Frustrated by a lack of innovation in the tablet market and the ultimate failure of the UMPC thus far, Techcrunch's Michael Arrington is taking matters into his own hands and has commissioned a task force of sort to work out the specs and all the nitty-gritty details on make this happen.

Calling it the Techcrunch Web Tablet Project, it will run Linux, have a multi-touch screen (I'm sure Apple will be keeping an eye on their IPs), Gears, Flash, and a media player. Of course, WiFi connection. So far the following are specs Techcrunch has mentioned. It's more of a wish list:
  • 512MB of RAM, 4GB of Flash memory.
  • USB, speakers and microphone.
  • Built in battery (I'm surprised here.  He means like the MacBook Air.)
  • Linux and Firefox, Gears, Flash
  • Multi-Touch
  • VOIP -specifically mentioned Skype but but I think it's too proprietary for the open source crowd.
My recommendation for the prototype and first iteration: keep it simple. We don't need it to clean the house or break the partisan gridlock in Washington. We want what you want: to be able to surf the web, e-mail, and use it as a media device.. Leave out Skype or VOIP. For now.

Personally, I think this is could well be how future computing is going to like for some people. With the proliferation of cloud storage/computing, devices may not need to have their computing powers grow exponentially every couple of years. With adequate hardware and steamlined software, we can leave the heavy lifting to farms of CPUs operated in the cloud. Let Google's farms crunch your spreadsheets for you. And store every picture you've ever take on Flickr. Lots of folks are doing that already. Even Microsoft with Live Mesh is a believer as well.

Thanks, Dave for bring this to our attention. Mobile warriors, when you're done reading TechCrunch's proposal, make sure you mop up your drool.

Yes, I want a $200 tablet. Thank you so much, Mike! Ah. sir. Mr. Arrington, sir. Best of luck. We'll be keeping an eye out on this one!

IMPACT ON MOBILITY: This will create some buzz. We won't know what kind of momentum this will have and who might be involved. Android has the backing of Google and even its success is not a lock. However, Techcrunch is articulating what a lot of mobile users want. We don't need a $2500 tablet. We want a tablet that let us stay connected and let us do our business. At a cost of only $200 (I saw $300 sneaked into TechCrunch's article though).

We're not going to see billions of investment pledged by Nokia or HTC tomorrow because of this. But let hope it's the first match to be lit under these guys' feet.

I wrote a bit about what I would like to see eventually in mobile convergence. Let me know what you think. We'll pass it along to TechCrunch.

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