It looks like TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington really is going to give the gadget business a shot with CrunchPad, his tablet PC startup.
And he’s getting help.
We’ve heard — but haven’t been able to confirm — that Arrington has recruited Keith Teare to join the effort.
Teare previously worked at Fotonauts, a photo startup, and is one of Arrington’s business partners at TechCrunch. He was also CEO of Edgeio, the defunct online classified ad company he started with Arrington. We assume his title at CrunchPad will be CEO, but don’t know. (If you do, let us know.) (Update: Techmeme‘s Gabe Rivera tweets that Teare denies being CrunchPad’s CEO. He has not, as far as we know, denied involvement in the project.)
We’ve also heard from a source in the gadget industry that the CrunchPad team has been “hanging around at Intel, trying to get their help.” That makes sense: The NYT reported earlier this month that the CrunchPad will run on an Intel Atom chip, the chip used to power netbook and mobile Internet devices (“MIDs”).
Meanwhile, here’s what a Silicon Valley bigwig familiar with the hardware business had to say when we asked about the CrunchPad:
“None of the people I’ve been able to reach… have heard anything specific about the TechCrunch netbook. That doesn’t actually shock me. It’ll be very interesting to see whether there are serious players who will undertake that now.
The current situation in netbooks is, they’re struggling to find a use case besides the personal computer, downsized. I think the downsized personal computer is a real use case, but it’s not one that’s likely to engender a huge amount of innovation. It’ll just create more devices that look like very tiny PCs.
The TechCrunch thing really is… he’s looking for a different centre of gravity on what the product can do. Whether any of the guys who manufacture stuff will be willing to do that for their own account, I don’t know. An interesting question would be whether Michael Arrington can generate enough capital to do this on his account, which would be a very interesting thing.”
So far, Arrington hasn’t announced any investors, though angel investor Ron Conway told the San Francisco Business Times earlier this month that he “wants to invest” in CrunchPad.
Arrington is planning to hold an event at the end of this month or the beginning of next month to make a “big announcement” about the CrunchPad, the NYT says. Earlier this month, the NYT reported that Arrington is closing in on acquiring Fusion Garage, a Singapore-based design team that’s been TechCrunch’s partner so far.
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