Techcrunch is asking its readers to help building a Web Tablet For $200
It basically a web-computing device for on your couch. Something like an Iphone with a bigger screen. Or a tablet PC but than plain, simple and much cheaper.
There is a long history of attempts to make a web computing come true, starting in the 90s with Go Pen Computer, wireless monitors in 00’s or recent products by Nokia (N810) or Pepper. Wacom’s Cintiq12 could even be considered here, although it is targeted for design-related work.
So why has it been so difficult to build a device for which there seems significant demand (within days, Techcrunch received hundreds of responses of people that want to buy it now)? One of the biggest factors is that technology has not been ready for an affordable price point (yet?). Display and battery are the biggest issues. On top comes the user interface (how to surf the web without keyboard, for instance), although with Iphone a pure touch interface might be more acceptable now than it was a few years ago.
Will Techcrunch community succeed where others failed? They will run into the same hardware issues (display and battery). Typically, a $200 device may have a bill-of-material of let’s say $65. That seems pretty aggressive considering the size of the display. But maybe they could strech this budget by allowing for a higher device price (up to $400) and lower margings (community works for free)?
It will be interesting to see how they will organize such an initiative. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for many people that will need to be coordinated. Also, how does decision making work in such a community? Does anybody have some examples or ideas of how this could work?