CrunchPad meet the Via reference design Web Pad

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We’ve been following the development of the TechCrunch web tablet since they made the auspicious announcement last year.  Today’s update that Kevin covered gave us a look at long last of the latest prototype they’ve named the CrunchPad.  I agree with everything that Kevin said about this slate as far as what it really offers the consumer.

As soon as I saw the CrunchPad today my memory was jogged to something I had seen a while back.  Quite a while back as a matter of fact.  The jogging was aided by TechCrunch’s details about choosing the Via Nano processor for the CrunchPad.  That got me thinking about Via and web pad so off I went searching to find what was tickling at the back of my mind.

It didn’t take me long to find it either- the Via reference design of the Web Pad:

It’s not quite as svelte as the CrunchPad prototype but remember this was dreamed up several years ago.  What is interesting about the Via design is how the Web Pad comes in two screen sizes- 8.4 and 10.4 inches.  Both of those screen sizes make a lot more sense for portability than the 12-inch screen of the CrunchPad with that low display resolution.  The Via reference design touts the Via C3 processor which is several generations old now but you could easily replace that in the specs with the Nano.

According to Via’s reference design definition the “VIA Web Pad reference design is a smart accessory for the person on the go, providing complete mobility of entertainment in a sleek silver casing. Full entertainment, Internet and common productivity applications are enabled in this handy-sized, portable module.”  That case is a bit bigger than that of the CrunchPad but remember this is years old.  It also houses the D-pad mouse control which would come in useful I can state having used slate devices without a keyboard.

This is just a reference design as I’ve made clear but it’s interesting that Via had dreamed up a “CrunchPad” years ago.  That means the TechCrunch device is not new so the pressure is on them to produce the CrunchPad super cheap.

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going back several years, their have been various ‘webpad’ devices testing the waters. mostly outside the US.

i have a webpad which is a semi-rugged thin client circa 2001-2003ish… it’s a Tatung TX-2000. I bought it for $100 on ebay.
see specs here:

it works well with windowsXPembedded installed and also some linux dists were fast.

i bought this as a experience prototype because i have wanted something like this for my casual needs in the kitchen or on the couch/coffee table or even in bed. also like to use as a digital photo frame as it does have an attached stand.

i def enjoy this type of device around the house and would like to get a similar device with upgraded specs for well under $300. 10″ screen seems perfect.

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