Michael Arrington from TechCrunch recently posted about a tablet PC that he wanted built. And I have to admit that the mock up looks very cool. And he wants to sell it around the $200 price point, which is doubly cool.
What is not so cool, however, is that our man Arrington hasn’t put in much thought in the product itself. Don’t get me wrong here, I, more than anyone else, would love to have a gadget like the one that is being talked about, but I just don’t think it is technically feasible to make such a device right now. And given the cost of the parts it is highly unlikely that the cost can be anywhere close to $200. I’d have been less skeptical if Michael had spoken of a $1000 price point.
Essentially, the machine that Michael is planning to build is an Asus EEE without the keyboard, but with a multitouch screen. The multitouch screen itself raises the price by quite a bit. And then to offset everything else Michael is envisioning that the device will run an open source operating system and so save on the software costs. Actually, the hardware and design costs of a device like this form the majority of the cost and the software is usually the easier part.
Actually, to tell you the truth, I’ve been thinking of a gadget like this myself for some time. Ever since the Amazon Kindle came out. My kind of device would be something that syncs the Morning newspaper and has it ready for me in the morning, something with a built in RSS reader and a PDF reader. I can live without a full fledged browser for now, but a simple email client would be a sweet addition. A device like this would let me do all the tasks that I usually do in the morning (read newspaper, check RSS reader and reply to urgent email) and still not get in the way like a full fledged computer would.
And if you think about it, I already have a device like this. The iPhone. It lets me read my RSS feeds (and is in fact quite good at the task, more on that in another post), lets me send email, rudimentary PDF support is built in. The only thing I can’t satisfactorily do with it is read newspapers since the screen is a little small. So, here is where Arrington’s tablet would come in. A bigger screen to read newspapers. And I don’t need full PC functionality. Only the basics covered above, and done well, would make this a killer device to own. Hell, I’d buy one in a jiffy.
Oh btw, I’ve been thinking of cutting my carbon footprint a bit more by switching to e-newspapers. Let me know how you guys think of this idea. If this actually makes sense, maybe I’ll motivate myself enough to get on with this experiment.