It’s dead, Jim.
And now, news of the CrunchPad’s demise has reached the blogosphere (twice-over, I must say), we’re here to examine the post-mortem. It was an ambitious project: an internet tablet meant to sell cheap. Everybody was waiting for it with bated breath, but it never came.
The first sign of trouble came when no word from TechCrunch came out after they presented a prototype way back in June. And of coure, there was the time when Arrington said that instead of the projected $200 price, the CrunchPad will be sold for $300-400, subsidized with (non-invasive) advertising.
Finally, last November 30, Arrington finally came out and announced that the CrunchPad is dead.
But the email went on. Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project. Chandra said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.
Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifiying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.
Chandra also forwarded an internal email from one of his shareholders. My favorite part of the email: “We still acknowledge that Arrington and TechCrunch bring some value to your business endeavor…If he agrees to our terms, we would have Arrington assume the role of visionary/evangelist/marketing head and Fusion Garage would acquire the rights to use the Crunchpad brand and name. Personally, I don’t think the name is all that important but you seem to be somewhat attached to the name.”
And with that, the entire project self destructed.
The fact that TechCrunch did not protect their trademark was very risky. I’ll even go on a limb and say that it was very naive of them to share the intellectual property with Fusion Garage. I’ll even go further and say that this won’t be the last time we’ll hear of the CrunchPad. Arrington’s no idiot. He’s a former corporate lawyer at a major firm, so we can expect a major legal battle ahead. All options will be definitely explored.
This is definitely a move to gain sympathy on his part. Fusion garage has yet to release an official statement on the matter, and we’d love to hear their side of the story.
For the record, when the CrunchPad hit the $300-400 price mark, I lost all enthusiasm for the product and decided that when, released, it was going to be something of a flop. I just didn’t expect it to die before being released. Man, three days before the official launch. That sucks.
Oh well, we better wait for the Apple tablet then. Wait, you mean that’s vaporware too? Well, damn!