TABLET MAKER Fusion Garage has stepped back into the limelight, following up its widely criticised Joojoo tablet with the Grid-10.
Fusion Garage's latest tablet, the Grid-10, follows on from the firm's disastrous Joojoo unit that failed to live up to the claims of the firm's charismatic founder, Chandra Rathakrishnan. Now Fusion Garage hopes that its custom version of Google's Android operating system, called Grid OS, will help the company banish memories of the Joojoo.
Fusion Garage has lined up two Grid OS products. The first is a 10.1in, 1366x768 resolution tablet that uses a dual-core 1.2GHz Tegra processor and has 16GB of storage. The standard version, for which the firm is currently taking US pre-orders, is priced at $499 and has WiFi connectivity. There is a WiFi and 3G version for $599.
Interestingly, Fusion Garage aims to branch out into smartphones with the Grid 4, a 4in smartphone that uses a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. There's no pricing or availability information on the Grid 4 and it's likely that Fusion Garage will see how the Grid 10 pans out before going into the smartphone business.
Rathakrishnan decided to focus on talking up the Grid OS rather than the 10in Grid-10 tablet, saying, "What we did with the Android kernel is akin to what Apple did when it created the Mac OS. They built a completely new OS on top of UNIX BSD and we took exactly the same approach with Android. This approach gave us the stability of Android and allowed us to bring a new level of functionality, aesthetics and flair to the tablet market. It also allowed us to power a completely new type of user interface."
Looking at pictures of Fusion Garage's Grid OS user interface it's not hard to see more than a passing resemblance to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 tile interface. While there's nothing particularly wrong with that, some might ask Rathakrishnan whether it is really a "new level" of aesthetics.
Past experience of Fusion Garage suggests that we'll have to wait and see the final product before passing judgement on it. However there's no question that for Rathakrishnan, the Grid-10 has to deliver.
Fusion Garage deserves some praise for coming back after a disastrous 2010. Clearly the firm has put considerable effort into developing Grid OS and hopefully the finished product will be a lot more complete than the Joojoo. If it can't get it right with the Grid-10, however, it seems unlikely that the market will ever take Fusion Garage seriously. µ