Latest Gadgets were invited to have a hands on with joojoo, an Internet tablet, which is available in the UK from yesterday. Is it an iPad-killer? Well no, but it doesn’t have the hubris to call itself a “magical and revolutionary” device* either and it has a host of features that the iPad deliberately omitted. Every iPad thread on the internet has rabid Apple detractors bemoaning a lack of certain features. If even a small percentage of those people put their money where their mouths are Fusion Garage, the Singaporean company behind joojoo, could have a hit on their hands.
The first thing you notice about the joojoo is its slick widescreen design. The 12.1 inch screen looks massive and despite being a fingerprint magnet is bright and looks great when you fire it up. The device only has one button – the power on. Everything else is controlled via the touch screen. Outputs include audio, mic and power and a (iPad haters rejoice) USB port that apparently can be used to attach a keyboard, mouse, USB hub or additional storage (comes with 4Gb SSD onboard). It even has a webcam (iPad haters start to dance) although this did seem a little awkwardly positioned for actual use unless you attached the device to a stand.
The most impressive aspect of the device for me was the load time. The joojoo loads in 9 seconds. As CEO Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan was keen to point out, the joojoo loads faster then Usain Bolt doing the 100 meters. We started the device 3 times and this claim holds. Usain Bolt was unavailable for comparison.
After loading, the joojoo has a splash screen with icons for web pages people visit, similar to http://fav4.org/ but with lots more icons, all arranged by category. Joojoo boasts the “largest app store in the world”, namely the internet and can access all websites, including Flash (iPad haters run into the streets waving credit cards deliriously). We loaded the flash version of Streetfigher 2 but time constraints meant I was unable to show Chandra my red fireball technique.
A coming software update will enable these to be rearranged or otherwise customized. Joojoo runs a custom OS that basically interfaces with “the Cloud” in a similar way to Google’s Chrome OS. Launching any app takes you to the website. You can also head to the location bar and search from there. There is a largish keyboard for inputting text. I failed at touch typing on the joojoo but Chandra was reasonably rapid so I’m allowing for the possibility that I suck at typing. The joojoo runs on a gesture based interface – swiping in certain directions moves pages, deletes others or brings up the location bar. This lacked the polish of the iPad but Chandra navigated the device reasonably fluidly.
Fullscreen HD (720p) YouTube videos had a joojoo play option that allowed them to play back smoothly, using hardware acceleration. They are hoping to extend this to other sites in a coming update. The most exciting thing I saw (aside from the 9 second start up) was the pending magazine section, which has an array of titles arranged for the joojoo using an open HTML format. Each used slightly different formatting but were able to provide a rich immersive experience that added to the written content with strong multimedia offerings.
Joojoo is £319 and out now from their website, with a retail presence soon to follow. A 3G version is coming this quarter and could possibly be subsidized by carriers. For more details, including a comprehensive technical breakdown, head to https://thejoojoo.com/ The joojoo may not surpass the iPad as a tablet computing experience, but it is a reasonably solid entry into the tablet computing market that looks set to improve with time.
*Having said that joojoo does mean magic so ….