Last July, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch wrote a post declaring that he wanted "a dead simple and dirt cheap touch screen web tablet to surf the web" and since no one else seemed to be working on such a device, he decided to do it himself, with the help of TechCrunch readers. Now it seems the project is nearing completion.
The CrunchPad is a linux-based touchscreen tablet using a browser-based UI. When you turn the unit on, it boots right into the webkit-based browser. There's a pop-up virtual keyboard for entering URLs and such (you wouldn't want to do any significant typing on it) and scrolling is via swiping the screen. When Arrington first visualized the project he was shooting for a $200 price point, then discovered that a $299 price was more realistic; however no price for the final hardware has been announced. The launch prototype is just 18 mm thick, with an aluminum case. For more details see Arrington's latest CrunchPad post.
Beyond the fact that this sounds like a nifty item, it's been fascinating to watch the process of bringing the product to life through a series of posts:
And here is the launch prototype:
Arrington says we'll be hearing more about the CrunchPad in July.