The first tablet from Fusion Garage running the new GridOS software was scheduled to start shipping this week. But just a few days before launch the company has knocked about $200 off the price tag and the ship date has been pushed a few weeks until October 1st.
Now you can pre-order a Grid 10 WiFi tablet from Fusion Garage for $299. A 3G model will run you $399.
When the company unveiled the 10 inch tablet last month the prices were set at $499 and $599 respectively.
The Grid 10 tablet features a 1366 x 768 pixel display, a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, and a 4-point multitouch capacitive touchscreen. The tablet has 512MB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and supports 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS. It weighs 1.5 pounds.
The most distinctive thing about the tablet though, is the GridOS operating system. It’s based on Android and will be able to run Android apps, but the user interface has been completely redesigned. Instead of the typical app launcher and multiple home screen layout, you have an infinitely scrolling grid allowing you to place app icons in groups.
There are also custom apps including a web browser that supports viewing two web pages side by side, and a multi-panel email app. Microsoft Bing is the default search engine instead of Google Android, and Fusion Garage has developed software that will let users with multiple GridOS devices (including an upcoming smartphone) start watching a movie or listening to a song on one device and continue where you left off on another.
Fusion Garage hasn’t explained why the base price of the tablet has dropped so much before the device even started to ship, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with the fact that HP’s poor-selling TouchPad tablet suddenly became a wild hit with bargain-hunting consumers when the company canceled the product and dropped the price from $399 to $199.
But while HP’s move only occurred when the company decided that its product was basically a failure after a month and a half on the market, it looks like Fusion Garage is pricing its new tablet to move before it even ships. It does make me wonder how many (or how few) pre-orders the company had already received, and if the new pricing is meant to try to spark interest in a product that might otherwise have been DOA.
Fusion Garage’s last product to hit the market was the ill-fated JooJoo tablet which ran a custom Linux-based operating system featuring little more than a web browser designed to run web apps. It received poor reviews, didn’t sell very well, and prompted Fusion Garage to take a completely different approach toward marketing the Grid10 tablet: before introducing the Grid10, Fusion Garage hired a PR firm to promote a fake company called TabCo to build buzz for the announcement throughout the summer.
During the actual press event where it was revealed that TabCo was actually Fusion Garage, the company’s CEO took to the stage in a webcast, which probably wasn’t actually live, showed off new products to the sound of fake applause, and answered written questions that were likely written in advance by Fusion Garage.
While few of those actions inspired much confidence in the company, the price drop could make the Grid10 a heck of a lot more appealing. The hardware actually looks pretty decent, and the ability to run Android apps could make the Grid10 a little more attractive than the HP TouchPad (at least until the CyanogenMod team releases a tool for installing Android on that tablet). And at $299, the Grid10 is very competitively priced when compared with other 10 inch Android tablets.