Despite Michael Arrington’s threats to sue Fusion Garage after the company ousted him from the Crunchpad project bearing his site’s (TechCrunch) name, Fusion Garage forged ahead, announcing the finished tablet in a press conference this afternoon. The 12.1-inch tablet now has the fantastical name Joojoo, and will start selling Friday for $499.
I’m not sure what I can add to the conversation about the name Joojoo, other than that it’s a baffling, probably unwise choice. (Chandra Rathakrishnan, Fusion Garage’s CEO, said it’s “an African term that stands for ‘magical’.” Okay, then.) It’s hard enough taking a company seriously when its famously outspoken ex-partner has accused it of intellectual property theft. A childish name like Joojoo doesn’t exactly help.
The Joojoo has a 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, and only runs a browser, much like soon-to-come Google Chrome OS devices. Since it was designed purely for Web surfing, it only has a 4GB solid-state drive. In a demo today, the tablet booted into the browser in 9 seconds. It’s unclear what processor is running under the hood. We do know, however, that it has Wi-Fi (ideal, we suppose, if the original usage model was to Web surf on one’s couch, although 3G would make it truly mobile, and there are plenty of subsidized netbooks that cost less than half the price of the Joojoo up front ). The tablet promises 5 hours of battery life, which is average in the comparably priced netbook category.
As for those niggling legal disputes, Rathakrishnan said that Fusion Garage and Arrington & Co. signed no contracts, a surprise given that Arrington was an attorney before launching TechCrunch. He also emphasized that he is an engineer by training, and that all of the design decisions were made by Fusion Garage. He contends that Arrington fell through on his end of the deal (no legal irony intended), which entailed securing funding and retail partnerships. “Nothing was delivered on Michael’s part,” he said.
Although Arrington once boasted the tablet would cost around $300, it will sell for $499. And while Arrington said he had some major retail partners lined up, for now it will only be sold on Fusion Garage’s site. The company will begin taking pre-orders on Friday.