TechCrunch Tablet Update: Prototype A

The TechCrunch tablet first appeared about a month ago and seems to actually be moving along. The first prototype has been built. The current design is in an aluminum case that a local sheet metal shop put together for them but the final design will most likely use plastic and be almost twice as thin as the current prototype.

They booted the hardware for the first time today and were able to use it to navigate to a web page using the touch screen. The hardware specs are practically final and the rest of the work is going to be done on the design of the case itself, the software, and UI.

They have a team working on the project and Michael Arrington also said: “We’ve learned a lot about building a hardware device over the last few weeks, and it’s clear that it is quite possible to build a high performance web tablet in the price range we anticipated.”

They originally suggested a price range of about $200 and I think it might actually be possible. I was a little down on the project originally but I’m getting a little bit more hopefully for the project, the picture below doesn’t exactly get me excited but I sure as heck would love to have a 10″ (or so) touch screen that I can surf the web on while I’m sitting on the couch.

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7 Comments

  1. I don’t know if i’m too late to add toughs but here it goes.

    More or less my ideal tablet pc:

    The screen should be between 7″ to 10″ multy touch.

    Itel atom prossessor.

    Wireless network 802.11n.

    Bluetooth.

    The hdd could be SSD but the connection to the main
    board should be standar so people could upgrade it
    at will.

    I think 1 slot for memory is enough up to 2gb ram.

    A very good battery that last at least 5 to 7hrs of use.

    The more importan thing i will like to have if i build
    my own tablet will be a vga input so i can use it as second monitor with my pc i think this is esential, i got a good idea as how this will work.

    I think something else tablets really need is something to hold them at the back, it could be like a tennis ball so anybody can hold it and it could be use to keep it stand up right on top of a table or desk, probably with the battery inside too.

    Defenetly Linux, don’t mind what software are included but i will just add XBMC on it…

    This are basic things for my ideal tablet pc, i could add
    more things i think is esential like GPS build in and a
    slot to plug a SIM card so i could call SMS and connect online over mobile phone network and the good old web cam.

  2. “The more importan thing i will like to have if i build
    my own tablet will be a vga input so i can use it as second monitor with my pc i think this is esential, i got a good idea as how this will work.”

    Just run a software-only framebuffer on your PC, with something like VNC serving it across the wifi.

  3. This is an awesome idea you guys are bringing to fruition! πŸ™‚

    Is anyone documenting the process and lessons learned so that others who pitch-in can get a head start?

    If this works, it could make a whole new sub-industry. That’ll throw the cat among the aging pigeons πŸ˜›

    For my 2 cents. Once a spec is laid out a prototype case could be ‘cheaply’ made using one of the new 3D printing services:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/21152/?a=f

  4. Yes you could run VNC on any tablet but if you have a VGA input already and a symple dockinh station next to you desk the moment you plug the tablet in the dock you are using it as a monitor that also mean you can plug and play into a MAC MINI, a linux box or windows with out software and if i wanna install a software into any pc (mac, linux or windows) i prefer to sync the touch screen to the pc is connected to via VGA so i could interact with it by tapping the screen…

    Think outside the box…

  5. was jsut wondering how easy this would be to connect to other networks other than your home network, because a lot of mainstream users won’t know heads or tails of linux, myself included. and wouldn’t know where to begin.

    i really really really really want one.

    πŸ™‚

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