JooJoo tablet will ship soon, rival Apple iPad, CEO says

Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan compared his device to the buzz-stealing Apple iPad in a Sunday interview.

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    Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan, president and CEO of Fusion Garage, holds a JooJoo, on Dec. 11, 2009, in New York.
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Remember the Crunchpad, the Michael Arrington-backed Web tablet-that-wasn't?

Now, do you remember the JooJoo, the reincarnated, name-changed, don't-call-it-a-Jujube, lawsuit-embroiled Web tablet? Well, it's still around. And, according to its company's CEO, it's slated to ship in Feburary – iPad and lawsuit-be-darned.

But will it be able to stay above water now that the iPad threatens to turn the tablet PC market into a one-device-show?

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Yes, according to Chandra Rathakrishnan, CEO of Fusion Garage, the company behind the $500 tablet. He told Venture Beat's Paul Boutin that his company had partnered with a top mobile phone manufacturer and that the JooJoo is on-schedule to meet its projected ship date.

The JooJoos will be in consumer hands by the end of February. That’s within the 8 to 10 week window we promised.

Why would someone buy a JooJoo and instead of an iPad?

It has a much larger screen, 12.1 inches instead of 9.7 inches. The resolution is 1368 by 768 pixels instead of 1024 by 768. There are an extra 300 pixels of length, so it’s 16:9 widescreen resolution instead of 4:3. Watching video on it is a joy. And the Web browsing experience is even better than the iPad, because of the size of the screen.

Also present in the JooJoo and notably not on the iPad is Flash support.

The full Venture Beat interview is here.

CNET got their hands on a review-model JooJoo back in December and cast doubt on whether folks would be willing to pony up the $500 required to bring one home (same price as the low-end iPad.) The tech reviewers praised it, but called JooJoo "a luxury item, an indulgence."

It's hard to justify its purchase in the way buyers can rationalize an iPhone or a Kindle. It's not a product we'd recommend to anyone who needs their computers for productivity. It's not a device for students, or workers, nor is it a good family room computer (the keyboard isn't good enough). You can get a capable laptop for $500 that does much more than the JooJoo.

Now that the iPad has been announced – and it does much of the same for the same price, in almost a pound less weight, and from a far more reputable company – will the JooJoo catch on? Leave your predictions in the comments.

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