Guessing the Specs: Techcrunch ‘CrunchPad’

Updated on 20 July 2009 by

Update: All specs and details now in a new Crunchpad product page.

I was one of the ‘doubters’ that questioned the Techcrunch Tablet. I questioned what Mike Arrington said in his first information post. “If all you are doing is running Firefox and Skype, you don’t need a lot of hardware horsepower, which will keep the cost way down. inch  We all know that’s not true because rich Web browsing is one of the most CPU-demanding applications there is. Now, 8 months later, you’re looking at an Intel Atom powered device with a 12 inch capacitive screen. The $200 price target isn’t looking so achievable now and I’m sure they’re now having a big battle with the weight/battery life equation. The article doesn’t give much away so lets take a fun minute or two to make some estimations about weight, battery life and price.

tctabMore images at Crunchgear

Lets assume they’ve dropped a 1.1ghz or 1.3Ghz Intel Atom inside with the SCH (UL11 or US15) chipset. The 800Mhz version won’t provide enough headroom for YouTube, Hulu and Skype in my opinion so it has to be the 1.1 or 1.3Ghz versions. From our testing with various MDs we know that these can idle, without screen but connected to the internet, in a minimum of 3W of power. The 12 inch screen will add a big power drain to that though. Unless they’ve gone with a Pixel-QI or similar low-power screen, you can add 2-3 Watts to the overall power envelope bringing the average drain close to 6W. Real-world battery life will have to be above 2hrs to get anyone’s attention (remember they are targeting in-home use) so a 15wh battery is likely. Given that, the weight is going to be about 700gm. As for price, if they can shift a 50,000 or more, they’ll probably be able to hit $399. I’m basing this on the fact that the Benq MID, a device built on almost exactly the same Intel and Linux technology but with a larger screen) sells for Euro299 from TIM, the mobile carrier in Italy. So here’s my guess on the missing specs:

  • Intel Atom 1.1Ghz
  • 512MB Memory
  • 4GB Flash
  • 15wh battery providing 2.5 real hours (‘up to 4 hours’ in marketing-speak!)
  • Weight 700gm (the maximum, in my experience, for a one-handed experience.)
  • Price (USA) $399
  • Reminder, these aren’t official specs.
  • Availability July 2009.

pepperpad3 So despite having a 12 inch screen, it could come in at a very portable 700gm, about the same weight as most UMPCs. Is it a ultra mobile PC though? Considering that it won’t be any larger than the PepperPad (image right. The PepperPad was built for the same target market, but failed to get much interest in consumer markets) It’s going to be a tough decision for Techcrunch and a big risk due to the better capabilities of similarly-priced netbooks and Mike knows that (see one of his comments in this article where he says it ‘may never happen’) but the device looks slick and there’s a lot of Techcrunch fans out there. Source CrunchGear Software design: Fusion Garage More comment at Techcrunch who say that more information will be available in about a week. Note, the name ‘CrunchPad’ comes from one of the photos of the packaging. This may be a project name.

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14 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    New article: Guessing the Specs: Techcrunch ‘CrunchPad’

  2. focus says:

    200$ was the target.I say :no target acomplished=no sales,simple as that.

  3. animatio says:

    just some little thoughts – in a market
    – where netbooks and actually convertibles flock the market to the brim.
    – where most people tend to have their “chouch-potato-book” with 4+ hrs already
    – where ereaders start popping up at every corner of the market (with intrinsic web functionalities included by the way)
    – where the bigger smartphones are attacking the same market segment
    – where couch surfing means a whole evening far from currency – means a good 4-5+ hours

    one really must have strong usp (unice selling proposition) for customers to spend extra money.

    i would expect st least strong specs for web apps, multimedia content an ereading. means also one needs strategic partnerships with content providers. not an easy going thing in a market where everybody just started battling for strong positions.

  4. Jeremy Schultz says:

    Guessing the Specs: Techcrunch ‘CrunchPad’ Very nice analysis from @chippy.

  5. ranjix says:

    this device is excellent for reading ebooks/pdfs and browsing internet. I need to do a lot of pdf reading, so I would get one. At $200 I would definitely get it, at $400 I would look what else can do

  6. Mads Tejlgaard says:

    I think you’re underestimating just how enticing a product designed for your market segment can be.

    JKK has showed us, countless times, that the companies building MID’s, UMPC’s and Netbooks tend to continually miss him as a target. He has to personally get in there and mod everything to perfection.

    This slate is designed with a very specific consumer in mind, and as a result, there’s considerable gains to be made over convergeance devices that target many different types of consumers.

    You speak of, for example, performance. What you don’t account for is that most netbooks are, by design, productivity devices as well as reading and surfing devices. This slate will not be a productivity device. What this means is that it doesn’t need data reliability. You could therefore, concievably, run almost the entire system on a 2gig ramdrive. A really small internal SSD is all you need for persistence, since the software stack is just 100mb, and all you’re going to be keeping on it is your firefox profile and skype. With a fast 512mb SSD, it could be switched on in 10 seconds and still be exceptionally cheap. With all data in ram after it’s switched on, there’s no need to keep the SSD running. If set up correctly, all temp internet files get downloaded directly to the ramdrive.

    JKK has demonstrated on numerous occasions that a fast SSD works wonders for must netbooks – that they increase in speed very well. Just think of how fast a system running on a ramdrive will be! The only problem is the volatility, and again, that’s not really a problem because you’re not doing anything that isn’t instantly uploaded if you need to persist it.

    So I definately think it’s possible to make this slate thing interesting.

  7. chippy says:

    Your ramdisk suggestion is good, ive run simiilar szstems in the past but its not going to help much in reducing battery drain and improving web page rendering performance. It also wont help much with cost. screen, battery, cpu are going to be the main costs at about 150 dollars in raw costs alone.

    i welcome this product but im trying to be realistic about costs, performance and bateery life. I hope its better than i expect.

  8. Corrupted Mind says:

    Not sure I believe in your numbers Chippy. The OS is a straight boot to browser so in many respects the OS “is” the browser, that means we have to rethink how the cpu will be running processes while idle – idle in browser spk could be just reading a web page. I think with a fully customised stripped back OS and fully custom browser that uses the CPU a little differently than normal- power usage might be less than you suspect. I think the screen presents a different and more conventional problem (personally I think a 10″ would have been sufficient and consumed less). On battery, I think they should be looking for about 10W in a sub 500gsm bocy…

  9. animatio says:

    it might be worth to separate myth and reality about what really happens today in a browser window. fact is, that there are almost no idle times anymore. reason for this are all this push apps active in the background that make browsing one of the most cpu intensive apps (besides video) nowadays.

  10. chippy says:

    if you stripped the browser such that allowed the cpu to idle then youd end up with less than a full web experience. Animated gifs, javascript, other script, scrolling, browser plugins etc. This may not be what purists call a web browser experience but without it, customers will walk on by.

  11. TareX says:

    It looks VERY sick, and could be a killer UMPC.

    Even though I anticipate Tegra MID’s to take over, with TEGRA being a low power ultra-powerful cheap processor…

  12. mAGIC says:

    Actually it would be nice if the guys at TechCrunch use nVidia’s reference design for the ION platform – I think the ION reference design has already been slated for netbook UMPCs out there already. At any rate, this solution would provide a better web browsing, general entertainment experience. CPU throttling could be utilized as well to help conserve battery power when the demand is not needed. Just a thought….

  13. Corrupted Mind says:

    I wasn’t really saying that an idle browser doesn’t use the CPU at all but rather, if mapped properly you could achieve more of a power saving than a CPU that is running an OS and then a browser on top.

  14. james braselton says:


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