Even before the long-time rumored Apple Tablet is rolled out, it seems to already have competition.

Popular Mechanics magazine has made a list of its 2009 Breakthrough Awards – prizes intended to highlight innovative work in the field of technology. A new and interesting gadget, TechCrunch CrunchPad Tablet made the list.

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TechCrunch CrunchPad Tablet (Popular Mechanics)

Tech blogger Michael Arrington wanted a low-cost tablet computer—something to handle basic Web-oriented tasks from the comfort of his couch.

As it wasn’t out in the market, he went ahead and designed one which is a Linux-based PC.

According to Popular Mechanics, the actual device just didn't make it in time, which seems to suggest that while the CrunchPad does in fact exist, its creators rushed--and failed--to get it in under the wire.

The CrunchPad just goes to prove that the difference between computers, netbooks and phone's are fast shrinking.

The cost is becoming similar, with the priciest smart phones now more expensive than the cheapest netbooks (about $300). Wireless carriers are beginning to add netbook plans, plunging the cost of a netbook with a service plan to as low as $50, similar to discounted phones if users sign up for a contract, Gregory M. Lamb of the Monitor noted.