Like many people, I was excited when I first heard about netbooks. Most of my computing experience revolves around the Internet, so a low-cost machine for that purpose would be useful to me, and it would lower the barrier to entry for many people who still aren’t on the net. Then I found out how small the screens are. Sorry, but the Web is a visual experience, and the most important part of the machine is the display. How can you view web pages on a seven inch screen?
Well, it looks like a solution is in development. TechCrunchIT has announced that they want to build a “web tablet” that does nothing more than boot into an instance of Firefox. It could run on 512 MB RAM and a 4 GB SSD. In my mind, as long as it has a 15.4″ or 17″ screen with 1440×900 resolution or higher, and sells for around $200, I’m sold!
Here’s a mock up of their web tablet:
With the latest and best wireless networking, this would be a marvelous gadget for many use cases: traveling on business, going on vacation, attending conferences, browsing at the coffee shop, or sitting on the bus.
The most interesting part is that they want to build it completely open-source, and they’ve received an overwhelming response on their blog from people who want to help (here, here, and here). Hopefully they will accomplish their goals.