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CrunchPad Feeling the Cost Crunch?



crunchpadSilicon Alley Insider is reporting that Mike Arrington’s CrunchPad tablet may have run into delays due to cost problems.

One story we heard from a few people on a recent trip to California is that the CrunchPad is supposedly being delayed — perhaps indefinitely — by increasing expenses.

Really? So that wacky price estimate of $300 for a 10″ slate tablet is hard to hit, huh? Wow, that’s surprising. Oh, unless you follow slate Tablet PC prices, in which case you already knew what a pipe dream that was.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but companies very dedicated to slate tablets, such as Motion Computing and TabletKiosk, have been toiling on the technology for years. For Arrington to think he could roll in and make comparable gear for a lot less in a matter of months was, well, ridiculously arrogant. I really hope he can get a product off the ground, but as I mentioned way back when, “don’t hold your breath“. Guessing we’re not getting that announcement we’ve been expecting for months. Sorry Warner.



  1. Fleon

    11/04/2009 at 2:16 pm

    The bitter editorializing here was maybe a bit over the top? Although $300 would be pretty ambitious, an actual educated look at some similar products doesn’t throw that out of the water.

    The ASUS T91MT is available for $549 and has 1) Win 7 Home Premium, 2) 32GB Flash, and 3) Multitouch touchscreen. Compared to the Crunchpad running 1) Linux, 2) 4GB Flash, 3) a resistive touchscreen, it should be about $160-200 more. So really, the price point isn’t really what someone with no tech analyst or cost accounting experience should be yelling about so cynically and vocally, perhaps.

  2. SAM

    11/04/2009 at 2:29 pm

    I think we’ll evenially see these prices, at least if the
    slate people want to sell quantities of these tablets.

    Now, slates are a very narrow niche market, because why
    would an average consumer want to buy an item that
    has less specs but 30%-40% more money?

    If a slate were sold for $300, a person may want to take
    a chance and try it, vs $1,800

  3. Sumocat

    11/04/2009 at 3:08 pm

    Fleon: Or perhaps I’m simply considering the entire business proposition. A comparison against the ASUS T91MT should factor in the increased cost of building a slate vs. a convertible (folks seem to think slates should be cheaper, but history and reality state otherwise), as well as the software development cost of customizing a flavor of Linux vs. using an existing OS out-of-the-box (BTW, TabletKiosk does offer Linux). Cheaping out on hardware components, like the touchscreen, increase that development cost as better software, like palm rejection, is needed to compensate. The expenses stack up.

    Most importantly, ASUS is a manufacturer, which means no expenses to contract one. Arrington is not a manufacturer and must contract one, just like TabletKiosk and Motion do. The products look similar, but Arrington’s business situation is far more comparable to that of TK and Motion. A product comparison alone does not consider that.

    I do agree with SAM that prices on slates will eventually come down. If we see sub-$1000 slates next year, I won’t be surprised. But if Arrington seriously thought he or anyone (certainly not Apple) would just roll in to the market with $300 slates, I want what he’s drinking.

  4. Fleon

    11/04/2009 at 3:16 pm

    The cost to build a slate IS cheaper- the costing numbers from HP have shown this. The market for a slate is significantly lower, however, which is why the prices for slates are higher regardless of the variable costs.

    And if you look at the proposals for the Crunchpad, there is very little customization done. It’s pretty vanilla with a already available dock UI thrown on.

    I might agree that the guy was a bit naive on thinking it would be easy to start a production from scratch, but in reality those numbers aren’t that far off.

  5. ChrisRS

    11/04/2009 at 11:19 pm

    All things being equal, a fat person uses more soap. (Andy Rooney?)

    All things being equal, production costs for a slate style PC should be lower than for a comparable convertable sytle PC. No keyboad, no special hinge, etc.

    Devolpment costs will of course be spread over a smaller number of production units, but slate manufactures have not made an attempt to develop a mainstream slate that is comparable to a mainstream laptop. Complexity, attempts to reduce weight and increase battery life, add special features have driven up development and production costs. In addition the potential market has been reduced by the underpowered processors and lack of dedicated video.

    Mobility is not the holy grail for the entire slate market. I still want a 14-inch destop replacement. A slate would be great.

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