updated 10:35 am EST, Thu November 11, 2010
Fusion Garage says JooJoo EOL before new models
Fusion Garage chief Chandrashekar Rathakrishnan said on Thursday that the existing JooJoo tablet was being phased out. The one-time iPad rival was marked as "end of life" and would mark an end to the original platform, the CEO told e27. The switch to Android was going to lead to a "completely different" set of hardware.
He also acknowledged that the strategy of a web-only tablet originally conceived before the TechCrunch split hadn't worked. Apple's success was considered a lesson for Fusion Garage as it proved that native apps were still necessary for a tablet. The JooJoo was built with the idea that it would cost no more than $300 or as little as $200 since it wouldn't need storage, but the end product cost $500 after the decision to use an Intel Atom and NVIDIA Ion graphics forced the price upwards.
"I think it's very obvious with the advance of the iPad that while web remains probably the number one thing that we do with our devices, the lack of end-to-end connectivity means that there's a need to have a hybrid, to have both a web and non-web experience," Rathakrishnan said. "And that's where we fell short with our product."
Sales were softer than expected and were primarily weak in the iPad's American home, but Asian and European sales were relatively strong. The executive wouldn't give out actual numbers, but they weren't as bad as what was "read on the Internet," he said.
The company has raised another $5 million and is hoping to avoid some of its early mistakes. Every device will have 3G with a unique inter-device communication method. The Singapore-based company also plans to sell through large retail chains and make carrier deals where its early sales were hampered by the online-only limit. Ad agencies, hospitals and transportation firms may also start carrying the hardware, albeit de-branded.