iTablet - Couldn't it just be all sci-fi?

According to Wikipedia, the first patent for a tablet-like device

Bad news for all appfreaks. The CrunchPad, the closest we've been to a futuristic tablet reader, has sadly finished before they could even start production. Well documented and from the inspiration and commitment of Michael Arrington and Louis Monier, the final model was meant to be presented now. 12" screen, sufficient battery autonomy and the option to run Linux or Windows, the CrunchPad sunk because greedy manufacturers decided to stop it.

Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project. Chandra said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.

Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.


Tablet laptops, multitouch mobile phones, ebook readers,... They are all products finding their place in the market. Surely the influence of films has made the general public dream about an interactive device to substitute some day paper. We've heard the rumors, how far are we from it? It seems that we have spent more time creating them for movies than for ourselves.

Microsoft introduced in the late 90s the concept of Tablet PC, that was simply a laptop that had a touch screen display. The current climate and the boom of the netbook, have popularized low cost models for a wider community. The Asus Eee PC T91 goes that way, but keeps the keyboard, just in case.
Experience here is a plus. Apple has been criticized for manipulating the price of hardware by stocking parts. They have also invested in micro-chip company P.A. Semi, capable of producing low consumption processors, ideal for portable devices. With experience with the Newton and the iPhone, everyone is eager to know what they are up to in Cupertino.

Kevin Rose and Alex Albercht have some idea. They have predicted some specs about the iPhone correctly and in the last Diggnation episode they mentioned the Apple Tablet. They are brave to say that Apple's Tablet will surprise everyone for its low price in the base model. They don't mention numbers, but competitors play between 500$ and 3500$. E-Ink readers such as the Kindle sell around $300.

The question is where projects like the CrunchPad fit. Is it just above the smartphones, or should it be between a netbook and a laptop?