It’s been some time since TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington initially announced his plans to create the ‘Crunchpad’, a “dead simple web tablet for less than $200″.

I will openly confess to admiring the ambition but doubting we’d ever get to see one before before a major computer manufacturer released the ‘ultimate’ tablet computer – most notably one from Apple. Whilst still very early days and a number of questions remain unanswered, Arrington and his partners have indeed managed to get us excited.

cdba 600x350 The Crunchpad and the iTablet. The Rabbit and the Tortoise?

A number of images of the device were leaked back in April, followed by a video, and today a few more images have officially been released. They’ve caused a stir across most tech oriented communities, from Hacker News to Twitter to Friendfeed – and rightfully so.

The question for most people appears to not be a matter of whether they want one or not, but rather whether Arrington will be able to stick to the “less than $200″ price tag? Frankly, I would quite happily cough up up to $600 for the device if it offered good battery life, a stand and usb ports for a keyboard & mouse. The other question still remains, will Apple release something, albeit more expensive, but that completely blows the CrunchPad out of the water and makes it so most users – without hesitation  – dump their pads and pay that bit extra for one device that does it all (a la iPhone).

cbd3 600x652 The Crunchpad and the iTablet. The Rabbit and the Tortoise?

Personally, its likely both devices end up with my money. The iTablet (if it actually ever arrives) will be used for meetings and work, whilst the Crunchpad for round the house, in each bathroom and of course, in bed. :)

What we know so far? It’s most likely to have:

12 inch screen. 18 mm thick
It has USB ports for Keyboard/Mouse/Whatever
Webkit based browser
Aluminum Casing
Linux based operating system

What we’d like to know:

Battery life?
Does it have a stand?
3G?
What’s it actually like to browse
eBooks/PDFs?

For a good overview of how the device works, watch this video – it will impress.

(There is to to be an announcement of some sort at an event in Silicon Valley in July, if you’d like to be emailed when new news comes out, send an email to crunchpad@techcrunch.com.)