Just after CES I began to wonder what was up with Fusion Garage and the JooJoo tablet. I was under the impression that I would have had a review unit during the holidays. That obviously didn’t happen and so I did what anyone would do – bug PR. I didn’t actually ask about review units; I thought the JooJoo had become vaporware given the legal battle between FG and TechCrunch. Turns out the original shipment window had slipped my mind – 6 to 8 weeks or whatever it was pegging the JooJoo for a late February, early March release.
Just as a reminder that the JooJoo is still around, Fusion Garage blasted a press release a couple hours ago stating that the “category-creating” tablet had moved into full production with units set to arrive at the end of the month. “Category-creating,” huh? That’s a bit of a ballsy statement considering the JooJoo’s main function is browsing the Web. Turns out that Fusion Garage will be launching a Web App Store. Fantastic, guys. Really. Same price point as the iPad. Company known only to the teeny, tiny segment of the population that reads tech/gadget blogs/sites. I get it, though. It was hinted at back in December that the JooJoo API would be out working the corner pulling in devs. But the problem is that there’s no money in it for them. You have no money to market this device. You’re going up against Apple! Blah blah blah.
Anyway, Fusion Garage has partnered with CSL Group of Malaysia who will front the cost of manufacturing with a revenue sharing model that grants them a share of each tablet sold. Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan has repeatedly said they’ll meet demand, but won’t divulge any numbers. I’ve polled a number of people within my own circle of nerds who have reached out to their circles and so on to no avail. Nobody knows anyone who’s pre-ordered one. I’m not saying that people haven’t but I’m just wondering who has.
So the moral of the story is that Fusion Garage wants everyone to know that they’re still around and the JooJoo is shipping at the end of the month.
“Category-creating” That makes me giggle.
SINGAPORE, February 3, 2010 – Fusion Garage today announced that its category-creating JooJoo Internet tablet has moved into full production with initial shipments expected to reach consumers at the end of February. Helping fuel the JooJoo’s arrival and Fusion Garage’s next phase of corporate growth is an innovative manufacturing agreement and strategic investment from mobile device OEM and distribution giant CSL Group of Malaysia.
Fusion Garage is expected to announce a second round of investment within the next two weeks which would augment today’s investment from CSL and the company’s initial round secured in November 2009.
CSL, established in 1998, has rapidly grown to a major conglomerate, with sales of nearly $300M USD, and the organization is one of the largest manufacturers of cell phones, mobile devices, netbook and notebook computers in SE Asia.
The strategic relationship between the companies calls for CSL to absorb all up front manufacturing costs associated with JooJoo production. This agreement virtually eliminates the normal high cost of mass market entry – often in the tens of millions – for any emerging Consumer Electronics (CE) hardware developer. In exchange, CSL will receive a revenue royalty from each JooJoo sold globally. Additionally, CSL has made a strategic venture investment in Fusion Garage which will help the company to move to the next phase of its corporate growth and product development.
“This is landscape changing manufacturing agreement in the CE hardware market in much the same way Dell changed the PC business model with its direct to consumer sales approach back in the 1990s,” said Fusion Garage founder and CEO, Chandrasekar (Chandra) Rathakrishnan. “CSL’s confidence in JooJoo and strategic investment enables us to concentrate on the expansion of our organization, software development and, ultimately, building a world class CE company.”
“We are justifiably bullish – not only on the promise of the JooJoo and the Internet tablet market’s potential but also on Fusion Garage’s forward looking vision,” said Dato Eric Chuah, Chairman of the CSL Group of Companies. “We have an opportunity to expand our business via this relationship, enter a hot market with a trusted partner and turn the traditional CE hardware manufacturing model on its head. We are betting on volume here and firmly believe our bet will be a winner.”
JooJoo, officially introduced in December 2009, is the category-creating Web tablet that provides near instantaneous Internet access and the best online experience. The African word “joujou” means magical object and Fusion Garage’s JooJoo brings users into an online world where everything on the Internet is just a single touch away. Powered by Fusion Garage’s innovative browser-based operating system, JooJoo enables users to quickly and easily tap into Internet applications, news, music, high definition video, social media and web services. JooJoo has revolutionary hardware, including the largest capacitive touch screen of any device on the market – 12.1 inches –providing full screen content viewing. Its ultra-portable, ultra-thin design offers the best Internet experience anywhere – on the couch or on the go, standing or sitting. JooJoo’s gesture-based user interface allows easy transitions between Websites and turns pages in a digital publication via the movement of a finger. A full-size touch keyboard appears when users need it, and disappears when viewing content or paging through digital content. JooJoo is available directly from Fusion Garage at http://www.thejoojoo.com.
About Fusion Garage
Fusion Garage enables the best Internet experience through innovative software and hardware devices. Founded in 2008, Fusion Garage’s core browser-based operating system provides near instantaneous Internet access and has spurred the development of an entirely new category of consumer electronics devices dedicated to online usage. Fusion Garage is based in Singapore and is privately funded.