A person who has wanted a simple web tablet for years.
For those of you who are reading this, I'll sum up the situation as best I can.
Michael Arrington, who owns the popular technology blog network TechCrunch, a while back proposed building a simple web tablet for cheap. With some help, they developed some prototypes and named it the CrunchPad. After working on the project for a while, Arrington partnered with Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan's company Fusion Garage to work on building something they could bring to market. In November, Rathakrishnan tried to push Arrington out of the project just prior to the expected launch, and renamed the tablet "The Joojoo" (which is a terrible name if you ask me).
Cue lawsuit frenzy.
Now, I'm the only one of my siblings who isn't a lawyer, and therefore I'm not about to argue the merits of Arrington's case or the movement for dismissmal that Fusion Garage just filed. What I will comment on though is what I titled this loose collection of text with:
Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan must be out of his damned mind.
Anyone who has looked at a tech blog in the last week has been unable to escape the coverage of Apple's impending iPad. Regardless of your opinion of it, the iPad is, without a doubt, one of the most publicized products Apple has put out in a while. While not without it's flaws, I will admit that I'm a big fan of the iPad as it stands -- but as previously stated I was already looking for this exact product.
This exact $500 product.
When the Joojoo was known as the CrunchPad, it had many price points attached to it. Arrington wanted to build something for $200, but that price kept going up. The price they were finally hovering around was $300-$400, as (or at least as the story goes) Arrington had managed to secure some personal favors to reduce costs. Rathakrishnan lacks the goodwill in the industry that would have made this possible though, and the final price of the Joojoo is instead $500.
While the Joojoo has a larger screen than the iPad as well as Flash Support and a webcam, it lacks the ability to actually store anything or run any sort of non-Web application. If you don't have a WiFi signal, it is an expensive paperweight. The iPad on the other hand runs local applications on a robust platform, plays locally stored media, and the WiFi only version costs the same amount of money.
Who on earth buys the Joojoo now?
Think about the risks of quality control and support. Given the choice between one of the most well known tech companies and a start-up embroiled in legal action, who do you think will build the better quality product? Who will have the warranty support to help you? Who will patch the OS if something is wrong?
The answer is apparent.
If Rathakrishnan doesn't think his product is DOA, he's either delusional or an idiot. It's entirely possible he's both. Of course, it's also entirely possible that he knows it will flop, and plans on taking the money and running -- but that's just pure speculation. I mean, it's not like the man has a history of ditching his partners when it's to his personal advantage or something.
What the iPad will be able to store is limited. Applications, data related to applications, music, mail, stuff copied from the internet. It'll have the same issues that the iPod Touch and iPhone have in that, while it may have a sizable hard drive, there is no way to store anything on that hard drive that doesn't fit into its very narrow file structure.
I know that there will be unhappy people. People will be unhappy that it requires a computer to dock to. People will be unhappy that the device can't load some common applications. People will be unhappy that it can only run one application at a time. Again, the same complaints as are directed toward the iPhone.