Fusion Garage, a Singapore electronics company that had a flop last year with something called the JooJoo. It’s spent the past year trying to build a tablet people might actually buy, and this week the company showed it off.
It’s called the Grid 10, which refers to the operating system (called Grid OS) and the size of the tablet’s screen (10 inches). The tablet goes on sale next month; it will be followed in the fourth quarter by a smart phone, the Grid 4.
The Grid 10 is based on Android’s kernel, or the bridge between the hardware and the apps. But Fusion CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan was quick to say that the operating system is unlike anything you’ve seen on an Android tablet.
“This is not a re-skin. This is a ground-up innovation that’s built on a rock-solid kernel,” he said.
The device has the highest-resolution display available on a tablet, at 1366 by 768 pixels; “motion picture-quality” animations; and a new metaphor for navigating through your apps: an endlessly stretchable grid filled with clusters of apps that you can collapse, expand and re-arrange at your convenience.
“It’s the sexiest device on the market today,” Rathakrishnan said.
The question is whether that will sell. HP’s webOS user interfaces was widely praised, but that didn’t stop HP from abandoning webOS devices on Thursday in the wake of anemic sales. In part that’s because of apps – neither company has been able to cultivate even a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of apps available on Apple’s iOS.
Grid will be able to run Android apps, which Rathakrishnan said will help it succeed. But there are plenty of Android tablets out there that aren’t selling in big numbers. And there still aren’t many Android apps designed for tablets.
The Grid 10 goes on sale Sept. 15 at $499 for a 16-GB, Wi-Fi-only version, or $599 for a version that adds a 3G connection. In other words, the same price as an entry-level iPad.