The whole JooJoo saga has been one filled with so many twists and turns it’ll make your head spin. First it was a vaporware CrunchPad, then it became the JooJoo – a device that would eventually become tangible. News out of Fusion Garage came in late February announcing they had hit an unforeseen issue with the world’s first 12.1-inch capacitive display that would inevitably push the ship date to the end of March. It’s unknown if the latest delay allowed the team to revamp the interface and gesture controls but they’ve clearly been hard at work.
Fusion Garage has completely redesigned the homescreen beyond its plain bookmark grid atop an always-changing background color. Instead, they’ve opted for a high-res background with a scrollable column of bookmark icons with a breakdown into categories on the left. Thankfully, they’ve hidden a menu bar along the top that drops down with a vertical swipe with the usual back, forward, and refresh browser controls. It appears they’ve added a sound, wifi, keyboard, and battery indicator along the right side of the menu bar.
They’ve also changed most of the navigation controls as well. Gone is the nonsensical “pinch in” technique that returns you to the homescreen that’s instead replaced via an option along the dropdown menu bar. Scrolling through web pages is done with two fingers, with one-finger gestures reserved to “pan” through interface elements a la Google Maps. They’ve added a one-handed smaller keyboard that can be dragged around for in-page text entry in addition to the larger multitouch keyboard.
The differentiating feature from the iPad is the JooJoo’s full Flash support. For big fans of Hulu, this means you’ll be able to watch all of your favorite shows on its 12.1-inch display only inches from your face. Of course, full Flash support is in addition to its dedicated H.264 video player that’s already been shown off as it went on a tour of Silicon Valley days after its unveiling.
The improvements to the software powering the device certainly make it a much more attractive device than what we first saw. Whether Fusion Garage can ship enough of these to stay in business remains to be seen, especially as the competition in the tablet space heats up.