Fusion Garage's JooJoo tablet PC is expected to be in consumer hands by the end of February, when it will likely give some indication as to the public's interest in tablets such as the Apple iPad.
According to Venture Beat, Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan says that not only have the preorders for the JooJoo tablet exceeded expectations, but there has been an increase in inquiries since the debut of the iPad--so it looks like the public may be ready for tablet computers after all (or, at least, ready to try them out).
The JooJoo tablet, which began its life as the TechCrunch CrunchPad, was announced in December 2009. The 2.4-pound touch screen tablet has a 12-inch, 1366-by-768-pixel display, 1GB of memory, and a 4GB Solid State Drive (used to store the OS and cache data). It also features a USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth support, built-in speakers, Wi-Fi, and a Webcam with a mic. The JooJoo tablet also features a fun (and potentially incredibly annoying) color-tinted screen--but don't worry, the color can be changed.
Instead of custom-built apps, the JooJoo tablet uses the web as its primary platform. It also supports Flash and reportedly plays 1080p Youtube streaming videos fairly well. The JooJoo tablet's price point is close to that of the iPad's, at $499.
While the JooJoo tablet does beat the iPad in a few ways (notably, multitasking, Flash support, and the webcam/mic combo), it also falls short in some pretty major areas. It has a 4GB SSD, but users cannot directly save files to said drive--it's purely an internet tablet. The problem with this, of course, is that the JooJoo has Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi only--there is no 3G option, though Fusion Garage is "not ruling out the possibility of 3G in the near future." Here's a tip, guys--the "near future" had better come pretty soon or people are going to start wondering what the point is of a big Internet-only-device that you can't store music on.
Because the JooJoo tablet uses the Internet as its platform, the lack of an "App Store" is another downside. Sure, you don't really need a Facebook app when you can just go to Facebook itself, but the Apple App Store is definitely a benefit of having an Apple product. Though some are critical of Apple's extreme vigilance when it comes to apps, recent influxes of malware into other, similar app stores suggest that perhaps Apple is merely being alert. Not only will JooJoo's lack of an app store make it harder for users to use the platform, but the openness may leave the JooJoo vulnerable to outside attacks.
The JooJoo tablet is just, quite literally, the internet in your hands (of course, the iPad is just, quite literally, a giant iPod Touch in your hands), but if Rathakrishnan's report of increased interest in the JooJoo after the announcement of the iPad is true, perhaps there is a big market for tablet PCs, regardless of what they do (or don't).