I don’t read TechCrunch, so I wasn’t aware of Michael Arrington’s CrunchPad project – building a web tablet for portable surfing. But photos leaked on the web this week of a possible unit have certainly caught my interest.
I like my Asus mini-notebook computer since it is tiny, has long battery life and a cramped but practical mechanical keyboard, can output video to my HDTV, and thus is a full-fledged computer that can run any of the applications I routinely use. However, the 1024×600 screen is annoying for web browsing since most sites are formatted for 1024×768, and I don’t like using the mini-notebook’s touchpad for scrolling, even with its two-finger-to-scroll function.
My Asus is great for travel, especially since my iPhone can make up for poor hotel WiFi service. But couch surfing with it isn’t terribly comfortable due to its clamshell design and weight. Thus a web tablet would be quite appealing to me for home use if it offered these features/advantages:
- cost below that of my Kindle 2, which was $360
- weight considerably less than my netbook, which is 3.2 pounds (14.2 newtons)
- battery life of 4 or more hours and easy recharging with a wall wart and preferably also USB
- a mechanical scroll wheel (not gonna happen) or at least iPhone-quality accelerated touch scrolling
Ideally the unit would also include its own mobile 3G networking for short trips. (Or a bluetooth tether to my iPhone for 3G networking, but I doubt AT&T and Apple would ever cooperate.)
If this product appears, I’d consider buying it even though it would add to my multitude of semi-dedicated devices:
- iPhone 3G for ever-present occasional internet/email/phone service
- 2nd-generation iPod Nano for music/podcasts/audiobooks on day hikes (due to iPhone’s limited battery life)
- Kindle 2 for e-books and reading long-form web articles (E ink is far easier on my eyes than backlit screens)
- CrunchPad for house web surfing (less cumbersome than a mini-notebook)
- Asus Eee PC 1000H for portable computing and vacations
- Dell Dimension 2400 for desktop computing
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There are not many other mobile devices that let you watch Netflix movies on a handheld device. Obviously, you can on laptops, but they take forever to boot up and are considerably less graceful in use.