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Arrington's CrunchPad Dies 175

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hooray-for-greed dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Michael Arrington announced the death of the CrunchPad on Monday morning in a blog post heavily spiced with angst and drama. According to Arrington, the Crunchpad, a 12-inch Web tablet expected to be priced at about $300, was just days away from launch. At the last minute, however, Arrington received an email from Chandra Rathakrishnan, the chief executive of manufacturing partner Fusion Garage, apparently trying to cut Arrington out of the product on the eve of the launch. Fusion Garage, according to Arrington, wanted to market the device itself under its own name; which obviously was the deal breaker. Arrington claims that the company had overcome obstacles at every stage in the business such as deals with Intel, retail launch, securing venture capital and angel investments. Interesting bit is that some were already speculating that the Crunchpad was not real."
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Arrington's CrunchPad Dies

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  • Didn't die (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:17PM (#30272274)

    It would be more accurate to say CrunchPad was miscarried.

  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot.pitabred@dyndns@org> on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:44PM (#30272588) Homepage
    Meh. I'm holding out for a Nook [barnesandnoble.com]. More open, more features, same price.
  • Re:Days from Launch? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dagamer34 (1012833) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:53PM (#30272674)
    I don't think you read the article because it addressed that very point. They were days away from a public announcement and they had some units ready to go for the press and then this shit gets pulled on him.
  • by pitchaxistheory (844824) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:54PM (#30272676)
    I've been keenly following the development of this device in the hopes of getting one before Christmas. Anyway, here's a newspaper article dated Aug '09 about the company behind all the "heavy lifting". Seems that they got into a partnership with Arrington with the hopes of him being the marketing guy. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_410527.html [straitstimes.com]
  • Re:Hire a lawyer (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:54PM (#30272678)

    Arrington himself is a lawyer.

  • by Myrv (305480) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:37PM (#30273186)

    I have no reason to doubt that Arrington is being screwed here, and that he does in fact have intellectual property rights that are being trampled on, but how much hard work did he actually do on this thing? My understanding is that he mostly said, "I want this thing with these specs at this price, make it happen" and his manufacturing partner is the one that actually built it.

    Well, to Arrignton's credit he (or the TechCrunch side of things) did build the first prototype [techcrunch.com]. He also provided office space for Fusion Garage and no doubt was integral in the testing. There's also a lot of talk about setting up distribution and funding although it's hard to say how much of that was Arringtons doing. Overall I would say Arrington has contributed at least an equal share into the project.

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:09PM (#30273784)

    mobi is a proprietary format (it is owned by a company, and they control the format), and Kindle's version isn't straight mobi, it's a slight modification. Txt and pdf aren't ebook formats. (They are text and e-paper formats, respectively. Yes, there is a difference.) And the Nook can use those as well.

    epub is a true open format: available to any without licensing fees and such. Software is available freely to convert books and other text into it, and out of it should you so choose. (Provided they haven't been encrypted using the DRM provision, of course.)

    And it's the Kindle that has the more limited selection: Epub is the more common format, and the Nook also supports the older (proprietary) eReader format, that has been used for around 10 years, starting on the Palm platform.

    I fully expect to be able to read 70-90% of my current library of ebooks without conversion on my Nook. I'd have to convert 100%, using Amazon's service, on the Kindle.

  • Re:Days from Launch? (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:29PM (#30274128) Journal

    Yes, I read the article, and they had two hand-built versions of this thing, that sometimes ran for up to an hour before crashing.

    Also, they invented a time machine, because somehow these setbacks went backwards in time and prevented them from holding the pre-launch part scheduled for November 20th.

    I'm not sure where anyone gets "days from launch" from that, and I'm not sure why the Slashdot editors felt that including it in their "summary" would increase revenue.

    You're a moron. The article doesn't say that it ran "up to an hour before crashing", it said "it ran for several hours without crashing" which he said was good enough for demos. Fair enough. I don't know where the Hell you got the part about having two hand-built versions of the thing and there's nothing like that in the article. As regards the time machine... The possibility that he is narrating events that happened a couple of weeks ago rather than today seems to be beyond your comprehension. The official launch was set for the 20th. The fatal email came through a few days before that. Wisely, Arrington did not post the story until he'd pursued things privately first, hence the news breaks today. Wow - did you fail to comprehend the article!

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:40PM (#30274288) Journal

    Arrington is a Stanford educated lawyer with former clients such as Pixar and Apple. If he's making claims like this in his blog, they're not going to be spurious. He'll know what he's doing.
  • by bugnuts (94678) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:55PM (#30274542) Journal

    For some reason, the link where Fusion Garage gives their side of the story is missing in my browser. Can you provide me with it?

    A tiny amount of digging would show that they have a blog. [fusiongarage.com]

    In it, they state they are doing the software for it, and the entire vision of the product is from Arrington. There cannot be a product without a vision on what is needed. In patent law, the person that has the actual vision has rights to the patent, no matter how many people are involved in the technical aspects (i.e. building it).

    My thoughts are that Arrington should hire a team to write the software to his specs, and get a product out the door.

  • by bvankuik (203077) <slashdot_bvankui ... l ['uik' in gap]> on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:00PM (#30274616)

    Problem is that without partners, you do not have any leverage whatsoever. I am sorry for playing bullshit bingo, but leverage means here that with two partners, you can do more together than each partner separately could have done. Doing everything yourself is a good way to limit yourself or put a weakness in your product (because for instance you know jack shit about electronics which plays a nontrivial role in your product).

    I am a business owner and have run a couple of projects for clients. I do not have any partners but I have the same supplier for over two years. We have a client-supplier relation but even there, you need the combination of rules and understanding. But lately I notice that we will never grow beyond calculating costs for the next project. You need partners for that.

    If that is fine with you, then do it yourself. I know I will. I am just not a team player and way too bone headed and authoritative to play nice with a partner. However that means a big limitation (besides the obvious strengths).

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:02PM (#30274650) Homepage

    I'm not sure if your confusion stems from the fact that this is to complicated for you to understand, or that you don't want to understand.

    First, the Kindle supports mobi. Regular, non-DRM mobi format. Your claim otherwise is factually, indisputably false.

    Secondly, it's the number of books supported that matters. If a book is only available in a format the Nook can't read but the Kindle can, the fact that the Nook supports your favorite format doesn't count for shit.

    So in conclusion: both the Kindle and the Nook support open ebook formats. The Kindle also supports the format used by the Amazon store; the nook does not. If the number of books available from the Amazon store is much larger than those available for the Nook, that's a serious advantage for the Kindle as an ebook reader.

    Good luck to B&N. I hope they get full publisher support eventually. Without it, the Nook will be a 2nd-class citizen of the ebook world.

  • by Evets (629327) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:00PM (#30275498) Homepage Journal

    The only way to ensure that you will move forward along with a company you started is to ensure that you are not a replaceable asset to the company. Once big money investors get involved, you can expect that any founders will be pushed out the door unless they have real long term value. Technical knowledge of an existing invention != value in a lot of cases. Technical knowledge of a future, more profitable invention might, but even then there must be faith in your ability to complete the task combined with the lack of faith in anybody else to do the same.

    Never go after outside money unless you absolutely have to, and never allow your value to be underestimated. Easier said than done.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:48PM (#30276346) Journal
    Bezos says he's selling them, but he hasn't released any sales figures.
  • by bugnuts (94678) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:46PM (#30277780) Journal

    Nasty. Here's some of the text from my cache. There are links directly to techcrunch. I have the full, saved files including comments, if anyone is interested.

    Techcrunch Tablet Prototype B
    January 19th, 2009
    Goto comments Leave a comment

    There is an air of excitement permeating through Fusion Garage at the moment. Michael Arrington of Techcrunch just wrote an update on the Techcrunch Tablet Prototype B.

    It's our software that is running on the tablet as demonstrated in the videos embedded in the article. We continue to work with Louis Monier on the feature set and the user experience. We are thrilled with this progress and would like to take the opportunity to thank Michael and Louis for giving us the opportunity to work with them on the Techcrunch Tablet.

    Its early days yet but we are big believers of the Browser As An Operating System and the Techcrunch Tablet Initiative.

    A nice way to begin 2009 here at FusionGarage !

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