Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

Summary: In a webcast, Fusion Garage founder and CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan announced the JooJoo, a cloud-based, 12.1-inch tablet device that will retail for $499.

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Fusion Garage founder and CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan announced on Monday the JooJoo, a cloud-based, 12.1-inch tablet device that will retail for $499.

"This product is the first of its kind to boot within 9 seconds," Rathakrishnan said. "It's truly what comes closest to instant-on."

The device is the phoenix that rises from the ashes of a fallen CrunchPad, the tablet device that the company originally intended to develop with popular technology blog TechCrunch.

In a webcast, Rathakrishnan sought to refute the claims of TechCrunch head Michael Arrington that the partnership imploded because Fusion Garage tried to cut TechCrunch out of its own namesake device. Instead, he stressed that all hardware and software development of the device was done by Fusion Garage on its own dime.

"It offends me greatly that an incomplete...story has been presented," he said. "Anybody can write blog posts."

JooJoo, named for an African term that means "magical," Rathakrishnan said, is a tablet computing device that doesn't have a proper operating system but instead an OS that loads directly into a browser, much like Google's Chrome OS.

"It boots in nine seconds," he said. "The Internet is the application of the device."

The capacitive touchscreen device does not have any physical buttons besides a power button. Rathakrishnan said the device can play full HD videos and serve as an e-book reader.

The JooJoo will retail for $499 and will be available on Fri., Dec. 11 from the company's website, TheJooJoo.com. It will ship in eight to 10 weeks.

Rathakrishnan took a swipe at Arrington's promise of a lower price -- such as $200 or $300 -- saying that "Nothing worthwhile can be offered at that price" based on the market, comparing it to a $199 Apple iPhone with contract, a netbook and the $489 Kindle DX e-book reader.

"I challenge you to find a product of this caliber and features for less," he said.

As for ownership of the device, Rathakrishnan said TechCrunch had no legal claim to any aspect of it.

"There are no contracts of any kind between Fusion Garage and TechCrunch or any of their related subsidies," he said. "We own the IP and we will defend it."

Rathakrishnan said no lawsuit had been filed by either company.

"Michael made many promises...none of which came true," he said. "We had to move on."

Responding to a question, Rathakrishnan acknowledged the similarities between the device and Google's Chrome OS, but said Chrome development focused on the netbook, not the cloud-based tablet.

"Google Chrome has a similar vision," he said, "But we believe the netbook form factor isn't quite [appropriate]."

Rathakrishnan said the device has a local cache -- a 4GB solid-state drive -- to allow for offline e-mail review that synchronizes with a Wi-Fi Internet connection present.

The device does not support mobile SIM cards, he said.

"There's enough space on this device to do the relevant caching to have offline capability."

Rathakrishnan said the battery can last "five hours, on the go, without a charge."

He said Fusion Garage was in discussions with publishing partners, and that accessories would come soon.

The JooJoo will come in just one color, black.

"We think there will be a lot of demand for this product and we will be ramping up [production] as a result of that," he said.

In his demonstration, the device's scrolling appeared quite laggy. The interface used large, touch-friendly icons as bookmarks for favorite sites.

Responding to questions about the ability of his company to properly market the device, Rathakrishnan said that TechCrunch's contribution to publicize the device is far less important than it seems.

"[Arrington] is writing about a vision on a blog post," he said. "We can take this to market without TechCrunch's marketing capabilities."

Rathakrishnan said Arrington originally proposed a deal in which TechCrunch would acquire Fusion Garage so it would have a controlling stake in the device. He said there were discussions about the deal but nothing materialized.

"This was nothing more than a potential acquisition that didn't occur," he said.

Rathakrishnan blamed Arrington for stalling the project, which had ground to a halt at the second prototype.

"Fusion Garage alone owns all IP and associated rights to [the CrunchPad]," he said. "TechCrunch didn't contribute a single line of code."

With talks between his company and TechCrunch now at a standstill, the device is now Fusion Garage's to market, Rathakrishnan said.

"Bringing the product to market is what we are doing today," he said.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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10 comments
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  • Don't buy it!

    [b]Don't let theives like these get away with it![/b]
    John Zern
    • how do yo know?

      How do you know FG are the thieves? Were you there?
      GeorgeAtha
      • Because two prototypes had been created before this company existed

        This project was something Arrington had worked on for quite a while before Fusion Garage even existed. They came on board "to help" Arrington get the product to market and instead stole the product to sell themselves. This time line is well documented in historical blog posts on TechCrunch. In fact, two prototypes had already been created of this product prior to Fusion Garage even existing.
        BillDem
  • RE: Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

    Naah, its just a flash in a pan, if this works only on the web, it will fail; even if it caches for offline.

    Despite what you may have heard, people still need to do a lot offline. A pad(tablet) has to be a multi-purpose device, not just reading web pages. It has to fit our lives completely, else it will be another deviced to be carried along.

    What we want is a one-device-fits-all concept. If I have such a pad, I will like to make phone calls through it via my bluetooth device, watch movies on it, read the web and my e-books on it, take it to meetings or classes and jot down on it. It simply have to be an extension of us digitally. Just like the iPhone has become for a lot of people. It is something you will alway have at a hand's reach.

    Do that to your device, then you have the market. As it is right now, this JooJoo thing will fail.
    eInfinity
  • Open Source should defend itself

    As said previously, beware the effect on Open Source licensing.
    JelMin
  • RE: Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

    The whole idea was that this was a product designed by the guys at Tech Crunch, who are just like "us", understand "us", and would specify a product for "us". Fusion Garage's stand is that Tech Crunch "didn't write a single line of code." Who cares? The idea and formulation of the product is what made it cool, and that they got from Tech Crunch. That FG doesn't understand this shows that they don't understand IP, marketing, or what makes a product successful. You don't launch a successful product into a web full of bad press. And that's what they've chosen to do. Would you buy a product from idiots like these?
    vineel@...
  • RE: Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

    Seriously the CrunchPad was a good name, who want's to say "have you seen my joojoo?"
    Lowlander351
  • I will never buy anything from those thieves.

    The prototypes of this product existed before this company existed and they are stealing it from Arrington, plain and simple. Regardless of what these greedy a-holes say, I will never buy anything from their company. I hope they rot in hell for the bad karma they have generated by taking this product from its original creator and selling it themselves.
    BillDem
  • The situation is insane

    How could the originators of the product be "fired" several weeks before its release and act as if it belongs to FG? It's not only a bad way to announce the product, it give the impression that Fusion Garage doesn't know what they are doing. If they had some disagreement with Arlington's company, they should have worked that out before the release. Even if Arlington inadvertently signed away the IP rights to get development money, FG needed to be fair to them to avoid this bad publicity. Consumers may avoid buying a questionable product which will be in the courts for many years.
    vbprgrmr@...
  • RE: Fusion Garage announces JooJoo cloud tablet; swipes at TechCrunch

    i dont think it even looks like a crunchpad,those things are ugly,the joo joo is sleek beautifulillll and magic!
    yahee71