Fusion Garage is the company behind the rather unsuccessful JooJoo tablet computer. But rather than throw in the towel, CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan says the company is changing its approach. While he hasn’t confirmed the rumor that new models will run Google Android, it certainly seems likely given the new approach.
The JooJoo was designed to be a tablet that basically did one thing: it ran a web browser. The idea was that you would turn on the device and get online right away. All the apps you run would be web apps. Want to watch a video? Visit a web video site.
Unfortunately the user experience wasn’t great and Fusion Garage doesn’t appear to have sold very many JooJoo tablets. Now Rathakrishnan says that in 2011 Fusion Garage will offer multiple products with different screen sizes. More importantly, he says the company has realized that mobile devices need local storage and the ability to run native apps.
Users want to play local audio and video files, view photos, and run apps that work without a web browser. Apple learned that lesson after launching the original iPhone which lacked an SDK and only ran web apps. You’d think companies wouldn’t still be making that mistake — although to be fair, the original iPhone, while primitive by today’s smartphone standards), was certainly a blockbuster success for Apple… it just seems silly to launch a device in 2010 that can’t do as much as a smartphone from 2007. It looks like Fusion Garage got that message.
In other news, Rathakrishnan says the company is growing and will have 60 employees by the end of November, up from 40 today. He also mentions $3 million dollars in venture capital… but it’s not clear to me if this is actually new investment or the same money Fusion Garage raised last year.