TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, who last year boldly proclaimed TechCrunch would break every embargo it agreed to, apparently has broken his own embargo and leaked some news about his little consumer electronics side project, the CrunchPad.
OK, maybe he didn't really break his own embargo, but we wouldn't put it past him. The fact is Arrington says he's "just about nailed down the final design for the device" and that he'll have "first working prototypes" in a few weeks.
Arrington has been posting progress reports on the creation of the CrunchPad, which was originally envisioned as a "dead simple" Web tablet that would cost $200. Arrington is working with Fusion Garage to create the sexy-looking CrunchPad, which will be next talked about publicly "at a special press and user event in July in Silicon Valley." But the good news is you can talk about it privately all you want.
An earlier prototype was making the rounds in April, but this new version will be slimmer (less than an inch) and have an aluminum case, "which is more expensive than plastic but is sturdier and lets us shave a little more off the overall thickness of the device." As it stands, the CrunchPad will run on an Intel Atom chip and is Linux-based.
It's unclear how the new concept will price out. In April, Arrington said the device could be built for around $250 (with packaging) and sold for $300. But we suspect the ultimate, final price tag may be higher. In fact, by the time Arrington gets it finished, there will be plenty of Netbooks with slightly smaller screens that do more or less what the CrunchPad does (except boot up to a browser as quickly), are less fragile, and have a physical keyboard.
Of course, the other possibility is that Apple will come out with its own touch-screen tablet-style Netbook that costs a lot more but everybody wants to buy.