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Fusion Garage Grid 4 smart phone is all touch, no buttons

With its new GridOS and no buttons, the Grid 4 looks to forge a third way between iOS and Android phones. Does it have what it takes?

Not content with "revolutionising" the tablet scene with its Grid 10, Fusion Garage's 4-inch Grid 4 smart phone boasts the same GridOS software. Grid 4 is certainly a looker, with no buttons and completely touchscreen operation, but is it enough?

If you're a stranger to FG, it's the company behind the JooJoo -- the tablet PC that was supposed to thrash the iPad, but didn't. Not to be discouraged, it's taken the same 'our way or the highway' approach with the Grid 4.

Its GridOS software may be based on an Android kernel, and able to run the bazillions of apps in the Android Market, but it looks completely different, being completely gesture-based. There's no home button, for instance, so the only way you'll get around is by swiping a certain way. Well, it's certainly different.

It brings some interesting new features to the party, too. The Wheel lets you slide your finger to spin it and choose the desired function -- it lets you highlight text on a Web page, then choose to cut, copy, paste, look it up on a Bing map, buy related content, and so on. A new way of doing things, sure, but not exactly world-changing.

GridOS also promises to anticipate your needs and offer suggestions, such as restaurant recommendations, directions and addresses (though how it can know this without you asking is beyond us). Fusion Garage says Heartbeat gives "a full picture of your world as it happens" -- appointments, apps, messaging, notifications at a glance. It's basically a news feed.

In the video demos the OS looks smooth if a little ramshackle, though we'll reserve judgement until we get a review unit in. The specs aren't too shabby though, with a 4-inch LED backlit screen, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor keeping things running smoothly.

So, while it's doubtful the Grid 4 will anything like a true game changer, it could offer up a quirky alternative if you've had your fill of Android, and Apple's not to your taste. As long as it reaches the UK, that is -- there's no word on a UK release date yet, but we'll bring you a review as soon as we can.