Rumors reported by Silicon Alley Insider last week indicate that TechCrunch Michael Arrington’s Linux-based CrunchPad web browsing tablet has gone into hibernation. Perhaps due to higher than anticipated production expenses. Arrington had promised “a big announcement” during the summer months… which never materialized. So something’s definitely up. And I expect it’s the realization that launching a gadget, versus web, startup requires a much more significant investment of capital along with additional risk. And, as a small player, the CrunchPad team would have a difficult time sourcing components at the best rates. A Dell can pull off a minimalist $199 tablet. A startup cannot. But this doesn’t mean the CrunchPad is dead. Like Arrington, I believe there’s a market for a simple, couch-based computing platform. So let’s hope the delay is due to lining up investors and a product team with experience building, marketing, and supporting a consumer electronics device. If not, many of us will gladly overpay for Apple’s Kindle-crushing iPad next year.