Fusion Garage Grid tablet selling for $299

Available for sale in the U.S. and the U.K., the tablet has had its originally announced price trimmed by $200. The company is offering the 16GB Wi-Fi version for $299.

Fusion Garage's new Grid 10 tablet
Fusion Garage's new Grid 10 tablet Fusion Garage

Fusion Garage's new Grid 10 tablet is selling for a healthy $200 below its originally announced price.

Available for sale in the United States and scheduled to start shipping this past Monday, the Grid 10 is being served up in two versions--a 16GB Wi-Fi-only version for $299 and a 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G edition for $399. Those numbers compare with the previously announced prices of $499 and $599, respectively. Shipping is free.

A spokewoman for Fusion Garage told CNET that the company was able to lower the price after negotiating its supply chain costs with a manufacturing partner. Customers who already ordered the tablet following its official August 15 launch date will be compensated for the price difference.

Beyond the U.S., buyers in the U.K. can preorder the Grid 10, but it won't actually ship for them until October 24. The tablet will also start launching for other countries in Europe this week and next.

However, U.S. customers are now looking at a delay as well.

On Monday, Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan revealed that the new tablet won't actually start shipping until October 1. Rathakrishnan attributed the delay to a revision in the approval process for Adobe's Flash Player 10.3, requiring Fusion Garage to resubmit the Grid 10 for testing. Despite this new hiccup, the company said it doesn't expect any challenges in receiving approval.

Related stories:
• Fusion Garage Grid 10 tablet, hands-on
• Fusion Garage Grid 10 tablet (photos)
• Fusion Garage Grid 10 Video

The 10.1-inch tablet offers a 1,366x768-pixel display, an Nvidia Tegra II 1GHz dual-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, and 16GB of storage space. Add to that a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and the usual Bluetooth, GPS, and 802.11 Wi-Fi b/g/n connectivity.

Providing an alternative to Apple's iOS and Google's Android, Fusion Garage has outfitted the Grid 10 with a unique operating system known as GridOS. But since it's built on top of the Android Linux kernel, GridOS is capable of running Android apps. The Grid 10 won't be able to offer access to Google's Android Market because of its "non-traditional use of Android." However, the tablet will include access to the Amazon Appstore and to Fusion Garage's own app store, dubbed The Gridshop.

The rep for Fusion Garage explained that the company opted to use its own operating system for the tablet because it didn't want just another "re-skinned" flavor of Android.

"The company took the approach of building on top of the Android kernel because it gave the stability of Android, but brought a new level of functionality, innovation and aesthetics to the OS, resulting in an entirely new approach to the way users interact with tablets," the rep said.

A hands-on look at the Grid 10 by CNET's Donald Bell found the GridOS different from other tablet interfaces, perhaps to a fault. With the lock screen being opened by a custom signature, the home screen accessed by a two-finger swipe, and the apps displayed on the home screen like a sprawling map, the effect can be disorienting, at least at first.

Correction, 2:45 p.m. PT: This story initially misstated the previously announced prices. They were $499 and $599.

Updated on 9/14 at 4:55 a.m. PT with information from the company.

 

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