The CrunchPad is dead

The CrunchPad is no more.Less than a month after claiming the CrunchPad was “steamrolling” toward production, Michael Arrington has pronounced his web tablet dead. Apparently there was a serious fallout with the manufacturer. Serious as in the manufacturer is going to try to sell the device itself. Without Arrington. Potentially under the CrunchPad moniker.

This is about as spectacular as device wars get. You can imagine Arrington is pissed, and bound to be throwing around any lawsuit he can think up. He writes this about the email he received from Fusion Garage, the company set to manufacture the web tablet.

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.

The rest of Arrington’s post on the subject is appropriately distressed. I’m still amazed Fusion Garage would try to pull this off, particularly two days before the product was set for a public launch. For more detail on the drama, head over to to TechCrunch and offer Arrington your condolences.

Source: TechCrunch

Best of Black Friday

Black Friday deals.I’ve never been the type to get up ass-early the day after Thanksgiving, but there are some undeniably great deals out there that could make be worth it were I ever not sleeping off my vitamin T. I’ve scoured all the ads this year to find my personal favorite deals in the hope that it will help some of you last minute planners.

Amazon’s got the Blackberry Bold 9700 (Bold 2 for those of you keeping track) for $149.99 on new contracts, but you can do better. Wirefly has the same phone on AT&T for FREE with new activations and just $29.99 for existing customers. It’s a perfect deal for your favorite Blackberry fan (and probably yourself if you’re so inclined).

According to blackfriday.info’s many, many ad leaks, Office Depot has a Seagate 1.5TB external drive for $99.99. There are cheaper deals for smaller drives out there but, dollar for dollar, this will get you one of the best storage deals available. As someone who recently had to restore a machine from a backup drive, I’d highly recommend this option. It’s also great if you know someone working with large amounts of audio and video.

Dell’s working a little Black Friday love this year, my favorite being the 23″ Full HD (I’m assuming that means 1080p) widescreen monitor w/webcam for $219. Gamers would love this thing, whether it’s for a PC or, if they’re really desperate, that brand new Xbox 360 bundle they picked up. At 23″ it’s plenty big enough for extended MW2 sessions, especially in a dorm room.

If you’re in the market for a new computer, check out the Acer Aspire One at Office Max. It’s 10.1″ with 1GB of RAM, a 160GB HD, and Windows XP – all for $149.99. That’s about as cheap as you’ll get for a ten-incher, which is as small as I can go before my hands cramp up.

Black Friday just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Best Buy. The house of blue and yellow has the Nikon D3000DX bundle for $499.99. It’s a 10.2 Megapixel DSLR with a 10-55mm VR lens just a penny under the $500 mark. It’s 10% off list for most retailers, and as low as anyone wants to go for a DSLR this season.

There you have my favorites. There are plenty of sites where you can find the rest of the deals if you don’t get the paper. I’d recommend checking out www.blackfriday.info. Now, go get some rest. You’ll need it for the maddening crowd.

App Review: Best of Cycle World

best-of-cw-appI’ve got another app review for you today, this time from Cycle World (which is published under Hachette Filipacchi Media along with Car and Driver). The app, appropriately named “Best of Cycle World,” can be picked up from the App Store for free.

Before installing the app I read a few users reviews complaining about the update schedule and limited content. I would wholeheartedly agree if the app was billed as digital magazine, but it’s not. It’s a companion to a subscription magazine and should be considered as such. Bearing that in mind, I think the app is a great way to carry CW content in your pocket.

The app works like a content-rich RSS feed for the magazine’s best articles. It’s a simple list that links to individual articles, all of which have a picture gallery. While the content is decent, a few simple updates could improve the app. I’d recommend a system by which the reader can see what’s been read and what hasn’t. Also, adding a picture count (1 of 8, etc.) to the galleries would be a small improvement.

Overall, can’t complain much about free content. If nothing else, it saves you the embarrassment of carrying a magazine into the bathroom while your girlfriend’s over. That is, if you still care about that sort of thing.

App Review: Car and Driver Buyer’s Guide

IMG_0710When I look at mobile apps for popular magazines I always look for the same thing: content. A lot of publishers skimp on content just to have a name in the App Store. Luckily, that’s starting to change, and Car and Driver’s Buyer’s Guide is part of a welcome shift toward content-rich apps. The Buyer’s Guide is a great companion for anyone shopping for a new car, and best of all it’s free.

The app is simple and straight-forward. You search for cars based on make and model, whereupon you can find reviews, photos, specs for every trim level, and a list of competitor’s vehicles to consider against your choice. The main page also has general categories like “Latest Reviewed,” and “Fuel Misers.” These are especially helpful if you’re just starting your search or are unsure where to look. In any case, there’s always plenty of information. Of the 20 or so cars I browsed through, I never left the app thinking they’d missed something.

The app also has a general advice section including articles like “How to Test Drive a Car,” and “What’s the Right New Vehicle for Me?” The articles are full-length and offer the same kind of advice you’d get from the magazine or any male relative over 40.

If I have one complaint about the app it’s that there are ads, but that’s the price you pay to get a free app. Otherwise, it’s a great tool for anyone in the market for a new vehicle.

Google Maps Navigation comes to Android 1.6

Google Maps Navigation at work.One of the most exciting parts of the Motorola Droid launch was the inclusion of Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn GPS system from Google. At first the feature was only compatible with phones running Android 2.0, which is only the Droid. Today Google announced that it would be moving the nav system down to Android 1.6, opening up the service to phones like the MyTouch 3G and G1.

I’d call this a big win for Android users. Until this update the hope was that some enterprising developer would hack the thing down to 1.6. This still leaves out the Motorola CLIQ and HTC Droid Eris, but hey, it’s better than the original situation. The 1.6 release also adds layers, allowing you to overlay information on the map, like Wikipedia articles on local points of interest and public transit lines. The one thing 1.6 is missing is the “navigate to” voice command, so you’ll have to enter everything by hand. Life’s tough, isn’t it?