JooJoo tablet gets a new interface and features

In the not-so-long running saga of Fusion Garage’s JooJoo tablet, the company has excelled at talking up the product, but not so much at delivering. Here’s more talk: The tablet is sporting a new interface, gestures, and the ability to play local video, according to Engadget.

Formerly known as the Crunchpad, the JooJoo has fascinated me since Fusion Garage decided to strike out on its own with the device, leaving its partnership with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and an ocean of bad blood between them. In mid-December, it announced it would ship the device within 8-10 weeks. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Fusion Garage’s CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan even told us in early February that he still expected to make a mid-to-late February launch. The company ended up announcing a delay until March 25th due to production issues.

The biggest change in the JooJoo’s new interface is the revised home screen (above), which features icons over a high-resolution wallpaper. It’s definitely better than the basic home screen the company was showing off before. Regarding other changes, Engadget’s Nilay Patel writes that “Fusion Garage has also ditched the confusing pinch-to-go-back gesture and replaced it with a vertical swipe that brings down a status bar containing the home button, status indicators, browser navigation controls, and a combination address bar/search field.”

Scroll behavior has also been updated: There’s now a two-finger scroll that resembles a mouse’s scroll wheel, and a single finger scroll to help with panning. It’s meant to make navigating sites like Google Maps easier, since they rely heavily on certain mouse features.

Fusion Garage has also added a small movable keyboard for one-handed operation and a full-screen multitouch enabled keyboard. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any typing auto-correction or prediction like the iPhone. Rathakrishnan says that Flash is working properly, and the device can also play video files off of USB flash drives.

And for some reason, the JooJoo’s case will now be champagne-colored instead of black.

I’m still unconvinced that the $500 JooJoo will be able to compete very well against Apple’s iPad (which retails at the same price), or lower priced Android tablets that will likely pop up throughout the year. It also isn’t helping that the device is launching little more than a week before the iPad.

Check out more pictures of the JooJoo’s new interface over at Engadget.


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