updated 11:40 pm EDT, Mon October 25, 2010
JooJoo 2 to run on customized Android
Fusion Garage tonight revealed that a sequel to the JooJoo tablet was in development but would make a major switch in platforms. The new model would use Android and would be customized for the larger format much like Samsung's Social Hub or Windows Phone 7's People Hub, merging messaging like Gmail with Facebook and other social networking. Gizmodo was told that talks are underway with Google to receive official support and access to Android Market, but the design may force Fusion Garage to go without the store.
The device would be a complete restart for the JooJoo lineup and would drop the original model entirely once the new one was on sale. A launch is tentatively planned for early 2011, and as the company plans to go beyond one device in the future, could include multiple models.
Revamping the JooJoo would see the company depart from the original design behind the 12-inch slate, which involved a largely custom version of Linux and used a conventional Intel Atom processor underneath; Android can run on Intel chips but has usually been found on the more power-efficent ARM instead. The design was originally a co-creation with TechCrunch to fulfill site founder Mike Arrington's goal of a sub-$300 tablet that could rely solely on web apps instead of large amounts of storage offline, but cost overruns and the decision to add NVIDIA Ion graphics for HD video playback boosted the cost to $500 by the time the two partners split violently and Fusion Garage went on its own direction without Arrington's consent.
At the time, Fusion Garage founder Chandra Rathakrishnan saw it as an iPad competitor since it had a larger screen and wasn't constrained by a lack of Flash on the web. He hadn't expected the JooJoo to upset Apple's market position but did credit it as a gateway to mainstream acceptance for tablets as a whole.
On the subject of the ongoing lawsuit, Fusion Garage claimed its regular operations weren't affected by the legal complaint and that it was expanding to address its tablet strategy. It wouldn't disclose numbers but admitted that sales were slower overall, albeit acceptable in Europe and its home Asian region.