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Fusion Garage Grid 10: Exciting times in the non-iPad market

Most tablet users will never have heard of Fusion Garage, the company behind the new Grid-10 tablet. The Singaporean manufacturer originally teamed up with the blog Tech Crunch to create a user-friendly tablet before the iPad revolution rewrote slate history.

Unfortunately, their partnership with Tech Crunch ended in the courts, and their first computer – the Joojoo, wasn’t anywhere near as magical as the Apple device. Will the Grid be better (it certainly sounds cooler)? Read on.

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The tablet pushes the standard hardware specs of iPad rivals into a new territory with a 1366×768 (10.1″) widescreen and a Nvidia Tegre 2 dual-core at 1.2GHz. It’s a small improvement, but for £303 they’re pretty impressive stats. There is also 512MB RAM and a rather small 16GB storage capacity (bolster by microSD cards, though).

Unlike any other tablet, however, it runs Grid OS – a totally new operating system built on top of Android. This means all of Android’s apps should function without a problem. The UI itself is 100% gesture based – except the keyboard and on/off button, of course.

One of the most-talked about (of many) interesting features of the new OS tablet is the Seamless State capability. If you’ve got a Grid 4 (a smartphone by the same company), you can consume content on one device, then pause it and pick-up where you left off on the other one. Cool.

Another is that to access the device, you sign the screen with your signature – unlocking the device and proving that the correct user is signing in.

There’s also a wheel-based menu that provides instant access to functions similar to a right-click on a PC – edit, search, buy etc.

Fusion Garage have built-in a bunch of other unique functions into the device, which they outlined below:

o Intelligent Notifications: These determine the time of day an event takes place and, for example, offers time-based suggestions such as restaurant recommendations near a user’s GPS-determined lunch location. Recommendations are pulled from various web locations such as Yelp!

o Intelligent Calendar Integration: This determines if a user has an appointment and, for example, suggests the best driving route based on traffic condition. It also can recognise a restaurant name in the user’s calendar and offer reviews, addresses, maps, and other related information

o Smart Searching/Buzz Recommendations Engine: The Buzz Recommendations Engine powers Smart Searching

o Smart Searching and Buzz Recommendations are based on word association technology. When a user highlights a word (such as “Transformers”) automatic search recommendations are offered to the user in the most likely categories (Wikipedia, International Movie Database, online stores to buy the video or associated toys.)

o Buzz delivers recommendations on broad categories of word choices such as products, people, music, restaurant names, and more. It also delivers associated consumer sentiment on any given search by scanning Twitter for previous tweets on a given subject and provides a sentiment analysis of around the topic to provide positive, negative and neutral percentages.

For example, if the movie Transformers is highlighted and the Buzz option is clicked users will be able to see the corresponding sentiment from Twitter

Ø Grid’s Heartbeat feature gives users a full picture of their world as it happens. Appointments, applications, messaging, downloads, notifications and contextual information are all available at a glance.

Users pull in Heartbeat with a two-finger gesture from the right side of the screen and can then multitask between screens of open applications with each giving a complete view of the full application

It’s also iTunes compatible, so you can send content originally purchased from iTunes on the device.

All-in, we’re pretty excited. We thought nothing could shake us off-course from the Archos G9 101 we got our hands on a few weeks ago. Then the Grid 10 turns up and now we’re all in a flutter – it’s certainly exciting times in the non-iPad tablet market.