Over at CrunchGear they’ve got fed up waiting for Apple or another manufacturer to decide to build a low-cost, super-thin web tablet, and so they’ve decided to put together something themselves. Aiming for an eventual $200 price point, the spec would be straightforward: a reasonably-sized touchscreen, the bare minimum in terms of grunt (since all they want is web browsing and a little VoIP), a 4GB SSD for storage and all in something roughly as thin as a MacBook Air.
The as-yet unnamed tablet would run Linux but be tweaked to bypass any sort of desktop or GUI and load straight into the Firefox browser. Google Gears would allow for offline synchronization of files, while Skype would handle all the communications (courtesy of low-end speakers, a built in microphone and a webcam). CrunchGear have already spoken to a supply chain management company that say they could put such a device together for a few hundred dollars; once the prototype is together they plan on releasing the design under the open source licence, so that you can build your own.
And in fact, that’s where the rest of us come in. Anybody with skills suited to the project is being asked to join in designed, specifying and generally shaping the $200 Tablet; you can get involved here. There’s already a little scepticism about whether a blog team can really coordinate such an endeavour, but I’d like to think they can; personally, I’d love it to work out. It reminds me a little of the Tabeee project, but $200 is even less than that team were aiming for.