Hugh Pickens writes "TechCrunch's Michael Arrington has been talking for a year about building a touch-screen tablet for Web surfing and now it appears that the CrunchPad is close to becoming a reality. 'We're going to make some really big announcements,' said Arrington, who predicted a prototype would be ready for unveiling by the end of July. The purpose of the CrunchPad will be very simple: surfing the Web. Turn it on and up comes a browser — 'an Internet consumption device,' for reading, checking e-mail or watching video. The CrunchPad will not have a hard drive or keyboard and photos of the latest prototype show a device with a 12 inch screen. 'The screen is now flush with the case and we've decreased the overall thickness to about 18 mm,' writes Arrington. 'The case will be aluminum, which is more expensive than plastic but is sturdier and lets us shave a little more off the overall thickness of the device.' The CrunchPad boots directly into the browser with a Linux-based operating system and a WebKit-based browser. A video of an earlier CrunchPad prototype in action shows a device which, unlike the iPhone, runs flash. 'The next time we talk about the CrunchPad publicly will be at a special press and user event in July in Silicon Valley,' writes Arrington. 'We're full on. These prototypes are real.'"