If Apple won't bring the masses the cooler-than-MS tablet-style device they're supposedly craving, then it may just be leaving a gaping hole in the market for a newcomer like TechCrunch's almost-ready CrunchPad.

The latest news from TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington is that the design for the CrunchPad web tablet is now finalised and that he hopes to put it on sale "as soon as possible."

Apple comparison

Videos of the new device show a slim web-browsing tablet dominated by a large (around 12 inches) colour screen that seems to work very much like an iPhone; hence, the legions of Apple comparisons in the media.

Arrington says the CrunchPad won't include a hard drive, as it's simply for surfing the net. However, he explains that a keyboard can be connected, presumably by USB.

Just a computer?

When launch plans are clarified later in July, the 18mm thick CrunchPad is likely to come in at around $300 (£185), which will make for interesting competition with low-end netbooks.

Nevertheless, Arrington says it will have appeal, as it isn't held back by having to run the full range of PC applications needed on a netbook.

Via NYT