If you had any hopes of buying a CrunchPad, they’ve just been dashed. The 12″ capacitive slate tablet won’t be sold after all, due to a falling out between parties. According to TechCrunch, their CrunchPad partnership with FusionGarage took a turn for the worse — FusionGarage allegedly wanted to cut the CrunchPad company out of the sales process entirely. I’m sure we’ll hear more on the details, but for now, the product isn’t DOA since it never arrived. It’s simply D for dead.
The production costs were near $300, and the device was running on an Intel Atom processor, so in my opinion, it would have had niche sales anyway. Readers here might have shown great interest, but consumers at large probably wouldn’t. TechCrunch even admits that if you read between the lines here:
“Intel, which would supply the Atom CPUs to power the device, has assisted us repeatedly with engineering and partner advice, and gave us pricing that was ridiculously generous given our projected first year sales volumes.”
Why do I say that the device wouldn’t appeal to mainstream folks? One reason is the exact point James made earlier today when looking at text entry input on tablets. A basic on-screen keyboard for a 12″ slate simply won’t cut it for most people. It’s too large to thumb-type on, which means you’ll be holding the device in one hand while pecking with another. And the price is another issue. $300 buys you what I’d consider an equally portable, yet far more function device in either a netbook or a smartphone. Unless there was a subsidy model in play, a web-only tablet isn’t what folks expect for $300 or more.
All that aside, I’m personally disappointed in the news as the product was intriguing to me. Perhaps not intriguing enough for a purchase — I already have decent couch-surfing devices — but interesting nonetheless.