The tech world has really come around to the idea of tablet computing. Rumors from major companies like Microsoft and Apple seem to pop up time after time. Today, however, we turn our attention to the CrunchPad, one of the first would-be players in the tablet world.
On a podcast that was published November 12th, Michael Arrington said the project was “steamrolling along” and “everything’s good”. He denounced recent delay rumors related to the higher than expected cost of hardware and, instead, said that manufacturing and hardware costs keep coming down. With a 12-inch screen that was strictly dedicated to the web, the CrunchPad was going to be chasing a different market segment from Apple. As Arrington put it, we can “expect big news on that shortly”.
That big news came hours ago when Arrington declared the CrunchPad tablet dead in the water. The plan was to have the CrunchPad on stage during the Real-Time Crunchup event on the 20th, but only three days earlier, he says he received an email with some not so good news. Apparently Fusion Garage, the partner in the project, was cutting ties with TechCrunch on the CrunchPad and would be selling the device directly.
Apparently both TechCrunch and Fusion Garage jointly own the intellectual property to CrunchPad, but only TechCrunch owning the CrunchPad trademark. Arrington says that Fusion Garage cant build and sell the device without TechCrunch’s agreement, which makes the whole situation that much more confusing. If Fusion Garage can’t do what they say they’re going to do, why would they break off their relationship? The project would die. Since there isn’t really any information on what truly went or will go down, we’re not able to get a full picture.
Judging solely on the only side of the story available, Fusion Garage comes off looking worse than bad guys. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. We won’t know until this whole thing plays out, probably in court. Who’s going to want to work with them ever again? Ultimately, it’s us consumers that suffer most from the whole ordeal. This was our first chance for true touchscreen ‘couch computing’. Is this the last we hear about the CrunchPad? Let’s hope not.