A tale of two tablets

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In early June I wrote about Michael Arrington's CrunchPad prototype. This is Arrington's pet project: a 'dead-simple' internet tablet that he initially planned to sell for $200. By June, the price had crept to $300, and we were supposed to learn more in July.

Well, we did hear something, but it wasn't from Arrington. It was from Singapore publication Straits Times, which says that the CrunchPad is now coming in November 2009, at a cost of $400. At $200 the CrunchPad, which will have no on-board storage and be strictly a web/cloud device, sounded like a must-have geek toy. At $300 it sounded interesting. At $400 it just sounds over-priced. Granted it is supposed to have a pretty generous 12" screen, but this feels more like a living room device than a portable you'd carry around. I see it laying on the coffee table, ready to be grabbed when there's nothing on TV and you feel like watching Keyboard Cat again, or while you're watching a movie and can't remember where you've seen that actor and need to hit IMDB.

And as for the November launch date: will that put it in direct competition with Apple's iTablet? Yes, according to a "veteran analyst" who says the much-rumored super-iPod Touch device will be revealed in September, with a November launch planned. Actually maybe the iTablet will work in Arrington's favor, since compared to the speculated $700-$800 iTablet price tag, the CrunchPad sounds like a bargain (though in fairness the iTablet will do much more than just act as a hardware web browser). Engadget has the details, including the speculation that other manufacturers have put a hold on similar devices until they see what Apple has up their sleeves! Crazy! Does Apple really hold that much power over its competitors?

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