TabCo Uncloaks as Tablet-Maker Fusion Garage

In a classic case of bad timing, the mysterious TabCo company has revealed itself as startup Fusion Garage, just after Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) shook up the wireless market by buying Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) for $12.5 billion Monday.

The company has developed the Grid operating system -- based on an Android kernel but with a revamped interface -- for tablets and smartphones. It will offer chromeless browsing twinned with a 1,366-by-769 high-resolution screen on the tablet.

The OS will first arrive in the 10-inch form of the Grid 10 tablet, due on the market by Sept. 15 at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only version. This will be followed by a Grid OS smartphone that will cost $399 unlocked, sometime in the fourth quarter.

For months now, Mobile Fusion has been operating in secret with a mysterious ad campaign, trying to build hype about the upcoming tablet. The company even put up sky-writing proclaiming "forget fruit" at Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s recent developers' conference.

At the launch, however, Fusion Garage CEO Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan appeared to suggest that his company was more focused on shaking up the Android end of the tablet market. "We aren't crazy enough to think that we will out-sell Apple," Rathakrishnan said.

He described the rest of the tablet market, which is mostly Android-based right now, as "samey," while allowing that the Grid 10 will run Android applications.

"Is Android really popular?" Rathakrishnan asked. "I think Android [OS] is selling because it offers an alternative to Apple."

Rathakrishnan and crew have actually already had one bite at the, erm, tablet cherry as Fusion Garage. The stripped-down JooJoo tablet was launched in December 2009 and promptly flopped.

Reaction to Fusion Garage's new tablet has not been particularly favorable on Twitter so far.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:56:08 PM
re: TabCo Uncloaks as Tablet-Maker Fusion Garage

Some of the UI approach looked impressive. Hope the web-browsing speed was down to crowded Wi-Fi though cos it didn't seem that zippy.

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