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Fusion Garage rejoins mobile computing fray with new Grid 10 and Grid 4

So the JooJoo tablet turned out to be nothing sort of a disaster for local startup company Fusion Garage. Usually, most startups would have abandoned ship after such a failure, but it seems that Fusion Garage is a big believer in the saying that one should always try again until they succeed. And what better way to get the world to take it seriously once again than to announce the availability of two new mobile computing devices for the masses, complete with their own unique operating system?

Remember the ill-fated JooJoo tablet that was essentially dead-on-arrival as soon as it was launched for sale globally, due to extremely fierce competition from the likes of Apple's iPad and the plethora of Android-powered tablets produced by various big-name OEMs such as Samsung, LG, Archos at that time? Well, it appears that Fusion Garage is all set to banish those bad memories of the JooJoo by once again attempting to claim a share of the mobile computing pie with not one, but two new devices. These take the form of the 10-inch Grid 10 tablet and the four-inch Grid 4 smartphone, both of which will be powered by Fusion Garage's brand new operating system known as Grid OS.

According to Fusion Garage, the Grid 10 will make use of a n LED-backlit, 10-inch display that is capable of outputting a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. In addition, the Grid 10 will feature an NVIDIA Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip (SoC) which boasts a dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz; Fusion Garage claims that the Tegra 2 will be capable of providing all the power the Grid 10 needs to run all of the eye candy in the tablet's bundled Grid OS. The Grid 10 will also reportedly feature a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera for use in video chats, along with 16GB of internal flash memory and a 5,800mAh battery pack, although the 512MB of system memory comes across as being somewhat limited.

The Grid 4 smartphone, on the other hand, sports a four-inch TFT LCD screen which boasts a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and will be powered by a Qualcomm MSM8255 processor that is clocked at 1GHz. Like the aforementioned Grid 10 tablet, the Grid 4 will also be preloaded with Fusion Garage's own Grid OS and will feature 512MB of memory, along with a healthy 16GB of internal flash storage.

That being said, most of the focus is on the company's new Grid OS, which, according to its CEO, Chandra Rathakrishnan, is essentially an extremely customized version of Google's Android operating system. Rathakrishnan has also gone on to explain in interviews to various media outlets that what Fusion Garage did was to take Android's Linux-based kernel and build a completely new operating system over it. This is extremely similar to what Apple has done with Mac OS X, which consists of the Mach kernel which is reportedly based off FreeBSD, along with Apple's own proprietary APIs layered over it. This probably makes Grid OS the first true blue 'fork' of the Android operating system, much like how most popular Linux distributions are essentially forks of a single parent distribution.

More interestingly, it seems that Fusion Garage's move has allowed Grid OS to maintain some form of binary compatibility with the actual Android operating system, for the company's website has explicitly claimed that both the Grid 10 and Grid 4 will be shipped with Android applications preloaded into Grid OS.  If this is true, Fusion Garage might well have an extremely potent differentiating factor from its competitors, as it provides a means for users to migrate over to Grid OS seamlessly without any fears of losing access to their favorite apps they have come to depend on in their Android-powered smartphones. This is vital, especially if one takes into consideration the fact that it is the size of a mobile platform's application repository, and not its technical benefits, which will decide whether an operating system has any chance of surviving in the highly competitive mobile computing space.

Lastly, our first impressions of the various Grid OS screenshots that have shown up on Fusion Garage's product pages seems to suggest that the company might be taking a couple of pages out of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 book over its user interface, a suspicion which is also shared by popular technology website The Inquirer. But at the very least, it is quite hard to deny that Grid OS does look more polished that Android at this very point of time, although we can only wait and see how well the Grid 10 and the Grid 4 will perform on the market. Assuming that Fusion Garage gets everything right this time, of course.

Source: Fusion Garage, The Inquirer

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