Fusion Garage, aka Tabco, reveals Grid10 tablet, Grid4 smartphone, new OS
Tabco, as rumors began to suggest, is Fusion Garage, which has created a new mobile OS, tablet and smartphone to introduce some innovation into an industry stunted by copycat "samezies" since the launch of the original iPhone.
Tabco, after an eight-week teaser campaign that included sky writing and lighting up the Empire State Building with today's date, has revealed itself to be Fusion Garage, the long-ago creators of the browser-based JooJoo tablet.
Fusion Garage CEO Sanjay Rathakrishnan, during a live Web event, today introduced the Grid10 tablet and Grid4 smartphone, two new devices running GridOS, a new browser-based platform built on the Android kernel.
"Why all the hype if the product is as special as we say it is?" asked Rathakrishnan. Because we didn't want the Grid to be judged or compared based on Fusion Garage's past efforts, he said. "We created Tabco to give the product a fair shot."
Why create the Grid10?
Since the 2007 launch of the iPhone, said Rathakrishnan, there had been a lot of copying but no new innovation. The industry has become "a whole lot of samezies." Grid 10, he insisted, finally represents some innovation.
The button-free, entirely touch-enabled, 10.1-inch tablet features a grid — think Scrabble board — home screen that users manipulate with their fingertips. Each app is a tile on the grid and can reside independently or grouped ("photos," "documents," etc.) how the user would like them. The clusters of apps can be expanded or collapsed, and a key in the top corner shows a bird's-eye view, making it easier to maneuver around and orient oneself on the grid.
The interface is said to also anticipate a user's actions and needs and "intelligently" offer information. And because GridOS is a social OS, Rathakrishnan explained, there's a "share" option attached to each feature.
FG plans to launch a Grid Shop for apps, but users will also be able shop from any third-party app store.
Again looking to be different, Rathakrishnan said that, "despite all that we've packed into the device, we've priced it lower than lesser products." Available for pre-order on Amazon or the FG site, and shipping Sept. 15, a WiFi-only Grid10 is priced at $499 and a WiFi and 3G version at $599 — though the carrier won't be revealed until closer to the ship date.
Both versions feature a Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 16GB of memory, HDMI output, a microSD slot, a camera for video chatting and a screen resolution of 1366 by 768.
The Grid4 phone features a 4-inch, 800 x 480 display, 16GB of memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, Tri-Band 3G (HSDPA) and Quad-Band GSM connectivity, and a physique that's a few hairs larger than the iPhone 4 in each direction. (The Grid 4 is 122.4 by 63.9 by 9.6mm to the iPhone's 115.2 by 58.6 by 9.3mm.)
When asked why FG would bother building a new OS when Android is so popular, Rathakrishnan replied. "Is Android so popular? I think it's only selling well because it's the only alternative to Apple."
Does FG think it can beat the original innovator, then?
"We aren't crazy enough to think we will outsell Apple," said Rathakrishnan. "We're actually crazy about Apple and are fans of Apple products ourselves." But, he added, the market has fallen into some "sameness," and it's time for something new.
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