joo joo 3

Remember that $200 internet tablet Michael Arrington wanted to introduce? Now it’s a $499 tablet and the company behind it wants nothing to do with Michael Arrington anymore.

Arrington had a falling out with Fusion Garage recently, the company that developed the device’s operating system and which founder Chandra Rathakrishnan claims was behind all of the work in designing the hardware and sourcing its manufacture by OEMs. While Arrington says he’s going to sue over the death of the so-called CrunchPad, Rathakrishnan and company are moving ahead with the tablet under a new name: joojoo.

The joojoo will  weigh 2.4 pounds, feature a 12.1 inch, capacitative touchscreen display, and a custom interface designed for interacting with web services. The OS boots in about 9 seconds, and features shortcuts on the home screen for a number of web services including Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and CNN. You can scroll across the screen to unveil additional items. The joojoo will feature caching capabilities that will let you do things like compose emails while offline.

The device features a 4GB SSD, although the idea is that most of your user data will be stored online in the cloud. It has a 5 hour battery and support WiFi. There will be an on-screen software keyboard for entering text, but no physical keyboard.

You’ll be able to order the joojoo starting Friday, December 11th and it will ship in 8-10 weeks. While Fusion Garage’s operating system sounds an awful lot like the upcoming Google Chrome OS, which will also be web-only, the joojoo has one major advantage: It’s scheduled to ship soon while no Chrome OS devices are expected to be available until the second half of 2010.

Rathakrishnan says he’s comfortable with the $499 price, as there are currently no other products with 12.1 inch capacitive touchscreen displays at that price point. But he’s comparing the joojoo to an iPhone, which functions as a phone, which the joojoo does not, and netbooks, which have keyboards, which the joojoo does not. He suggests that full-sized tablets tend to run over $1500, which has been true in the past. But those tablets also had substantially more than 4GB of storage and had faster-than-Atom processors. Last I’d heard, the joojoo was running a standard Intel Atom CPU.

So there are a few remaining questions: at $499 are you still interested? And without Michael Arrington and TechCrunch promoting the joojoo, does it stand a chance?

More pictures after the break.

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20 replies on “Out of the ashes of the CrunchPad rises the $499 joojoo tablet”

  1. Brad, how come no news on the ARM smartbooks? Will Smartbooks ever appear? Or is it just talk talk talk?

  2. What’s the likelihood any of these get sold, once Arrington gets a court injunction barring their manufacture?

  3. Bah. it has an Atom, so no dice for me. I’m still waiting for something ARM based

  4. The JooJoo will look a lot more attractive when Apple wants $1299 for the “iPad!” I think the JooJoo will not be a commercial success, but will see limited adoption as a platform for vertically integrated markets like hospital patient record management. $500 for hardware, another $500 for custom software per station = a lot less than hospitals pay today.

  5. Same device with ARM and Pixel Qi screen will clobber this one.

    First such device also with a phone and 20 hour battery life will win. Only Pixel Qi can provide the tech to get there.

  6. I’ll be sticking with my iPod touch. It can do all that thing can and more. I rather liked the 2-300$ crunchpad but not a 500$ joojoo. I wouldn’t even be able to tell people what it was without feeling embarassed about the name if I bought it.

  7. I’m interested in this tablet, not for what it is or its over-ambitious price point, but for the market segment it resides in. The tablet form-factor is where Chrome OS will gravitate to, and this joojoo may provide a useful canary to shed some insight of how it may fare.

    The tablet does have one ergonomic advantage over a netbook: you don’t have to “open” it to immediately use it, and it is less unwieldy than a netbook. Lack of physical KB is a problem for text-entry intensive uses, but for content-consumption uses (web browsing, music listening, video watching) it’s not a big issue.

    Personally, I’d pay for a tablet that I can use as a remote access terminal to all of my computers, as a news & book reader, and as a music/video/net radio player. And all with day-long battery. I can skip the video playing portion if that takes too much power, for all-day battery life. I don’t need to do any actual computing on it.

  8. What an awesome product. Built by a marketing team, and marketed by an engineer! What could possibly go wrong?

    I’m already looking forward to picking one up once they’re remaindered, and Woot is selling them for $199.

  9. joojoo2 is ripe for an image macro.

    and this product is going nowhere, fast.

  10. $500! ha!

    You could PAY someone to install a DIY touch screen to a netbook for cheaper!

    I think they would have been better off w/ a 10″ screen and a cheaper price. $299 Probably, $399 Maybe, $499 No.

  11. Pretty shameless of you to rip those pictures straight from Engadget and not cite them at all.

    1. Actually I grabbed these images straight from the Fusion Garage webcast.
      Compare their images to mine and you’ll see that most of them are different.
      Interestingly we both seemed to have hit the screengrab button at exactly
      the same moment for one picture of Chandra holding the tablet though. I had
      to do a double take when I just checked out their liveblog images.

  12. Its a dog, I bet no one in there right mind will pay that much for this thing. Other touch screen computer are coming that will blow this THING away.

  13. What a pile of crap.

    First of all, it’s hard to feel bad for Arrington when he’s built a silly web empire by being a sleazy turd to people and startups. He’s short sighted and solipsist and deserves no praise. The fact that his business partners screwed him over is surely karma at work.

    On the other hand, this “joojoo” (really?!) tablet will be DOA. It does nothing that a cheaper netbook doesn’t do, and can’t even do things a cheap netbook can do. Never mind the fact that everyone’s too focused on Apple’s upcoming tablet to even care about Arrington’s kidnapped project.

    Bottom line: While Arrington cries himself to sleep at night, his ex-business partners will sell a few dozen units of this mediocre tablet and then be quickly forgotten. Mark my words.

    1. The concept itself was DOA.

      Arrington said there was a market for tablets that people use on the couch. There is. It’s filled by the iPhone/iTouch, a pocketable device that works as well on the couch as it does anywhere else.

      A too-weak-for-fullscreen-video 12″ tablet with 5 hours of battery time and no keyboard was never a good idea unless it was going to be $200. It’s too big to be usable everywhere, too feature poor to compete with even Android phones, too weak to be a portable Internet TV.

      Arrington, for all the shit he talks about netbooks and specifically Asus’ Eee, saw that Asus steamed up its hype train with promises of a $100-$200 laptop, delivered a $300 netbook, and saw it sell by the dozens.

      Arrington wanted a piece of that, read all the frothing Apple fanboys beg for an iTablet, decided that was his niche, started shit-talking netbooks and iPhones while announcing this at $200, then rode the hype to $300… and didn’t have the acumen to hold on to the bull when it started to buck.

      Asus could do it because they’re a corporation that’s done this before. Same with Apple. Arrington, believing that bloggers are as good at anything they blog about because they read so much about it, decided he could throw some people together and crank this out in a year or so. How hard could it be? He had nearly singlehandedly knocked over and built up startups with ideas he’d publicly deride.

      Never had he looked past his own nose to see the web of designers, producers, distributors, and wave upon wave of lawyers beneath a startup. Now he knows, and since he lacks a scrap of grace, he’ll kick and scream like an infant until he’s out of breath.

      Considering how Arrington’s a professional blowhard – dare I say, the biggest and loudest in the industry – that’ll be a long, long time.

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