TechCrunch today announced that the Crunchpad is dead. A victim of an unfortunate falling out between CrunchGear and FusionGarage, Crunchpad was apparently supposed to go live this week. Behind the scenes here at Gear Diary, there’s a lot of tablet lust, and we were all sad to see a potential contender disappear.
Since just about anything can spark a discussion among this group, the opinions on the CrunchPad, on tablets, on input methods all started coming fast and furious. Shocking that we’d all have something to say, isn’t it?
When the news first broke, there were some immediate tongue in cheek jokes:
Amy said “Hahahahahahaha!! Sorry..was that wrong?”
Judie noted “lawsuits a’plenty – costs them, and we all lose. :-(“ (Judie was in Angelo most of today, and couldn’t really chit-chat with us)
Mark couldn’t help but tease “That will teach these innocent open source tech lovers to have everything signed and sealed before starting. What a shame we live in a world of scummy business people that creates so many rich lawyers.”
Finally, Doug weighed in with a science fiction reference “This reminds me so much of the chapter “The Spawn of Onan” from Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” that it’s almost painful:
“So when the technology reached a certain point—the point where it could be marketed to a certain large Nipponese electronics company at a substantial profit—the backers of Avi’s company staged a lightning coup that had obviously been lovingly planned. Randy and the others were given a choice: they could leave the company now and hold on to some of their stock, which was still worth a decent amount of money. Or they could stay—in which case they would find themselves sabotaged from within by fifth columnists who had been infiltrated into key positions. At the same time they would be besieged from without by lawyers demanding their heads for the things that were suddenly going wrong.”, [Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon]
Substitute “Arrington” for “Randy,” and “Indian” for “Nipponese,” and there ya go.”
And then the conversation turned to tablets in general…who wanted one? Who was waiting for some future improvement? And who was waiting for the Apple Tablet?
Amy commented “I honestly think a tablet pc is a great idea. Its just an idea that needs to bake for a little while longer..and then come out. I am thinking next year with chrome os maybe?”
Joel let out his inner cynic a little, “Personally….as much as I think it would be COOL AS HECK to see a Apple designed Tablet, I don’t think it’s going to happen…AT ALL. Hope I am wrong….as it would make a great device to hack and will look cool too.”
Mark has a very clear vision of what he wants in a tablet “Only about a 7” tablet can be a success. Small enough to touch type on and be practical. Something like the crunchpad is basically a thin laptop without a keyboard.
I would like to see newer monitors including capacitive touch. Once I’m used to Pre or iphone I’d love to be able to manipulate screens and menus on my monitor like my phone. (except for the smudge marks)”
Doug then countered:
*If* Apple is getting into this space, I suspect they would have a number of differentiators to make a tablet saleable. I don’t know what those might be, but remember with the iPhone they had a number of things like proximity detection (my wife’s Treo always hung up on her when she accidentally, oh, I dunno, *pressed it to her face*), a single button, a high-functioning touch screen that you could use with your finger, and so on. They dumped a lot of work into it, and integrated it tightly with iTunes and the Mac, and it sold like friggin’ hotcakes.
What innovation could juice the tablet market? Remember, Apple was entering the *cell phone* market, which already existed and was huge. Tablets? Not so much.
I agree thought that any bigger than 7″ would be silly. But then, I’m just adding to the hot air, nu?
Chris added “Are tablets really that big a market segment that this topic deserves this much attention? Or ate we just getting a lot of noise about a
tiny niche? I’ll admit I really haven’t been following the progress
if tablets lately.”
Joel then jumped in and pointed us to a tweet from James Kendrick, aka JKontheRun: “Scoop: Apple going to produce a tablet that has a slot for an iPhone. Sold together, two data plans needed. Launch on Cricket first.
Dan pointed out that “Right. Apple is known for awkward devices in which one slips into the other. A very non-apple idea.”
Chris observed “Gotcha – I think Apple getting into the space is interesting and may change the game depending on exactly what – if anything – they
release. But everything else strikes me as noise. The keyboard vs ink etc argument is old and no one cares anymore. Here’s a clue – WM, the iPhone etc. have MULTIPLE modes of entry – end of story – they should support multiple options – so what’s to discuss? LOL”
Dan shared some thoughts that he put together after reading JKontheRun’s post over the weekend “First off we don’t know for sure if an Apple Tablet is coming so we don’t even know if the boat exists for it to be missed. Second, we have no clue that type of input it will have if it does arrive so we don’t know if they will miss the boat assuming it even arrives Third, I posted a video of my use of the Dragon Beta on the iPhone. It works great and I have no doubt it will be available on the iTablet if it exists. What could be a better than 100% accurate voice to text transcription? That will not only mean they don’t miss the boat but that they will own the shipyard where future boats will be built.”
Joel countered “He DOES have a point though…you will need a on screen keyboard or something for inputting things and interacting with them. However, I see this as a BASIC thing. If you can’t type a URL or write e-mail, it will be a failure. However, it’s not that newsworthy by itself. With more stuff like saying thing the iPad must have are etc etc etc….”
And my thoughts on all this? If we see an Apple tablet, yay! But I just don’t see it happening yet. I am very sad to see the CrunchPad fall apart, as I was secretly hoping to pick one up when they came out. And as for input methods, well, my handwriting is dreadful. Really, really horrible. So give me a keyboard or suffer the unintelligble consequences!
So now you’ve seen our rambling thoughts on tablets, from the now DOA CrunchPad to the mythical Apple Tablet. Now we want to hear from you! Do you want inking? A virtual keyboard? Are you saving your pennies for a future iTablet or are you eying something like the Asus T91 to assuage your tablet dreams?