The CrunchPad appeared again this week, with news that a launch prototype is getting very close. The photos of the prototype show a massive improvement in the web tablet dreamed up by the TechCrunch folks. The Linux-based tablet is designed to surf the web, and not much else, but that was originally deemed to be a good enough reason to keep the price below $200. As the work on the prototype progressed, that price kept growing, as skeptics thought it might, and if this new model is analyzed, I suspect we’re looking at $400 or more. That puts it way out of the “restricted web appliance” territory and into the “I can buy a laptop for that much” realm. It’s a nice-looking device in any event; let’s hope it makes it to market.