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 Www.Engadget.Com Media 2009 12 Joojoo01
Follow up: Chandra Rathakrishnan (Fusion Garage, maker of the CrunchPad, er, was/is) did that video call today. There is new information, but it seems the proclamation of the tablet being “open source” from the start, isn’t being addressed at all… Here’s a run down from Engadget.

JooJoo will be $499, available at thejoojoo.com on December 11. Talking pricing and availability: “There are dreams, and then there are hallucinations.” Saying Arrington’s dream of a $200 device was unrealistic. Comparing it to iPhone 3GS with a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen at $299 on contract, netbooks at $399 with no touchscreen.

If and when it’s released on 12/11, we’ll finally see if it’s “open source.” If it’s not, this would be example of using the term “open source” to gain good will and marketing for a product. Our emails and comments posted to TechCrunch have so far been ignored.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. DU says:

    A $500 closed-source machine is practically identical to a $200 open-source one. Yes, thank you for the bait-and-switch!

    1. Pete Marchetto says:

      If it were open source, the development probably would have been posted online, like we’ve seen in real open source projects. Let’s boycott this travesty.

  2. Garrett says:

    I don’t know…for this type of device, it’s not like having the PCB files will help anyone. More than likely a device of this complicated nature will require professional PCB CAD tools. Even if you have the CAD files, the tools to use them will cost more than a nice used car.

    So let’s assume the design was (masochistically) done in a hobby-level CAD program. Now you’re going to try producing umpteen-layer motherboards with blind vias and BGA packages, at home? The founder’s thought that if they released the CAD files, “anyone can create one” was fantasy.

    Having the schematics could help you attach some other device to the motherboard, but unless they already added convenient header and prototype areas, it’s going to be messy and difficult, and not fit in the slick aluminum case anymore. And what would you actually add to this device, that you can’t interface using Bluetooth or USB or serial?

    It’s normal, uninteresting computer hardware with a cool form factor. The interesting mods would all be done in the software domain. If anyone really wanted to hardware hack a device like this, you’d see more Arduinos duct-taped to Macbook Airs.

    The whole crowdsourced-production idea was ridiculous because complicated PCBs and custom aluminum cases are horribly expensive if you just build one, or fifty. Money issues would have quickly pushed all of these to a single commercial supplier even if everything had gone off as planned.

    1. Andy L says:

      “Open Source” does *NOT* imply “Hobbyist”.

      This is a common, but serious misunderstanding.

      Red Hat, IBM, Sun, etc, are not made up of hobbyists, they’re for-profit businesses that use the open-source model to make a profit.

      The open source model could be deployed here by opening the hardware and allowing other manufacturers to manufacture the hardware, fix bugs, make improvements, etc, and otherwise improve the platform as a whole.
      While it’s debatable whether this would be a good idea in this case, especially after all the initial design work is done and paid for, it would not be the farce you’re imagining.

  3. Doubi says:

    Phillip, I share your indignation at open source being used to garner marketing hype.

    I realise, as you have blogged before, “hardware is hard”, and achieving what the CrunchPad was meant to achieve is by no means as easy as whacking Linux behind a touchscreen.

    Given the large, independent-minded audience of hardware and software hackers you have though, I’d suggest that you’re in a good position to found a proper open source project to work towards the goal of what CrunchPad was to be, or at least to sound the call and see who shows up. Something that can be developed completely in the open.

    One difficulty is the lack of a site that offers the same collaboration and project management functions for hardware as the likes of Sourceforge, github etc. do for software.

    I think this can be overcome though. The magic of open source is supposed to be drawing on the combined genius of everyone out there who gives a damn. It seems an odd atmosphere where large groups of people were waiting / hoping for a private venture to build an open source product For them.

    Given that point, I realise asking You to do something about it makes me a bit of a hypocrite :-p All I can say is that if I had the relevant technical expertise, Or enough standing in the community, I Would stand up and try to start something. Of course, talk is cheap…

  4. Phillip Torrone says:

    @Doubi – thanks for the kind words. i don’t think i would want to spend the years required to plan, launch and support a web tablet – there are a lot of people in that race to the bottom (pricing) and it’s unclear if people really want these. i think i’ll stick to open source hardware kits for now :)

    that said, chumby and buglabs are great starts for anyone who would want to make a tablet for scratch, even the beagleboard is osh.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Be careful now, this might be the start of an attack on Open Source as a concept – the thin end of a legal wedge. It behoves OSI and friends to nail this one now.

    1. Wat says:

      To build a device from Arduinos and shields that would be truly great.

      Accrete community evolved hardware as coral and mutate to become everyones device.

      Even if it initially has a fraction of the capabilities the benefits of open development and the community could make it ultimately so.

      Yes the Arduinopad, fully public domain!

      Ethernet
      Usb Host
      Colour Touch Screen
      Input devices
      SD storage
      Sound
      OpenGL
      ARM
      Wifi
      Zigbee
      Telephony

      So we need a bus.
      And an architecture.

      Ignoring Stallman is a self fufilling iteration – closed tech will be used to remove freedoms.

      We need to begin the Arduinopad now so soon it will be as fine as Ubuntu.

      Without Gnu/Linux and OS and Apache no affordable internet infrastructure would exist today – compuserve on windows never took off.

      Perhaps it will be same with hardware – so if we do not do this utterly open homebrew etherpad then in 10 years there will be no geektopia only compuserve and coprporate oppression.

      Stallman was right. Stallman is right. Stallman will be right.

      Do not be fooled by the lack of elephants in your Garden, Stallman is no Cassandra.

      We need fully open hardware – no compromise or the future will die and skynet will win.

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