Aside from the mythical Apple tablet, few non-existent devices have generated quite the buzz of the so-called CrunchPad, a device allegedly dreamed up by controversial TechCrunch blogger Mark Arrington so he could surf the net from his couch. Hardware engineering had been underway on the CrunchPad for some time—with Arrington repeatedly lauding its virtues and promising rock-bottom price tags—when the whole project seemed to go pear-shaped last week, with Arrington declaring the project dead and partners Fusion Garage apparently planning to move ahead with the device on their own. Today, Fusion Garage is making good on that, teasing a tablet device it is calling The Joo Joo that promises to put Web browsing on a large, lightweight touchscreen tablet.
Although details are still a bit sketchy, Fusion Garage describes the Joo Joo as a tablet device with a 12.1-inch capacitive touch screen display; the Joo Joo runs a Unix operating system and boots directly into a Web browser in under 10 seconds—no other applications are available on the device, although of course users will be able to run Web-based applications. The device connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi—no mobile data service is available—and the device features a 4 GB SSD for storage, microphone and headphone jacks, as well as microSD storage. The device weighs about 2.4 pounds and promises 5 hours of use on a single battery charge.
Fusion Garage will launch pre-orders for the Joo Joo on December 11, with a $499 price tag.
The legal wrangling between Fusion Garage and Mark Arrington seems to be just be getting started. In declaring the project dead, Arrington accused Fusion Garage of stealing its intellectual property, claiming that the companies worked together on the product and neither TechCrunch nor Fusion Garage owned the IP behind the tablet outright. Fusion Garage claims that it has sole ownership of the device, which was already underway before Arrington began musing about his dream Internet tablet, and there was no contractual relationship between the two companies. The whole brouhaha may well be a legitimate legal tussle, a publicity stunt to garner attention leading up to the launch of the device…or perhaps both.