Magazine's Product Of Year Doesn't Actually ExistS

Popular Mechanics just named TechCrunch publisher Mike Arrington's tablet computer one of its top ten products of 2009. Which is amazing — amazingly ridiculous — given no one outside TechCrunch has even held one.

TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington has been working on his "CrunchPad" for more than a year now. TechCrunch posted a mockup of the "near-final industrial design" in June and Arrington predicted a July ship date, now three months come and gone. To become Product of the Year, shouldn't CrunchPad at least exist in the form of a demo unit that circulates to a reasonable number of journalists? Or be actually, err, shipping?

Not that the product isn't under development, or won't come out. If anything, Arrington, who has posted sporadic prototype photos to TechCrunch, deserves kudos for whipping up such absurdly enthusiastic press interest. He's helped along by one simple truth: Journalists have always loved the idea that one of their own can strike it rich. With the industry in its present shape, who can blame them for clinging to that hope especially tightly?