You can build a Web tablet for $200; you just won’t want to use it

Michael Arrington wants to buy some silicon champagne with beer money. The purveyor of posts on Web 2.0 companies, who has built an online family of sites including gadget blog CrunchGear, specs out an Internet tablet at a price point that has eluded some of the world’s largest-scale device manufacturers.

Products that have been roughly comparable have included the iPod touch and Nokia N800 (although this would appear to have a larger screen than those) and Smart Displays (such as those that were made by Viewsonic). Digital picture frames with Wi-Fi might come close, but they generally don’t have a battery and often lack touch screens. Their displays often offer relatively low resolution as well.

As many commenters have pointed out, getting good performance out of Adobe Flash on a low-end computing platform can be challenging, the technical rationale behind why the technology isn’t supported on the iPhone and iPod touch. And speaking of Apple, despite the original iBookish mockup pictured, he wants the device to be as thin or thinner than the MacBook Air. Sorry, but you simply fall off the realism meter when you start making substantive comparisons between your $200 fantasy and an $1,800 premium notebook computer designed by one of the best engineering teams in the business. It looks like this will likely become another in the short history of prominent blogger-designed, open source non-products such as Dave Winer’s podcast player. At least he didn’t expect it to cost $15.