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JooJoo Web tablet: First look

You may never have heard of Fusion Garage, but the company's JooJoo Web tablet is causing a fuss, and it's beaten Google in the race to make a browser-based operating system

Some guys you've never heard of have beaten some chaps you have heard of in the race to make a browser-based operating system. But, unlike Google's Chrome OS for netbooks, Fusion Garage's browser-based OS is for exclusive use on something else it's about to release: a $500 (£305) tablet computer called JooJoo.

The ridiculously named JooJoo was inserted into the hands of our US colleague Rafe Needleman yesterday. Rafe praised the product as 'a great device' and 'a great computer for browsing the Web from the couch', but questioned its niche appeal and limited capabilities for the price.

What really strikes us is that the JooJoo -- previously referred to as TechCrunch's CrunchPad (see Engadget's coverage for a good summary of the drama surrounding this product) -- seems to run an operating system exactly like the one Google is aiming to bring to market late next year, Chrome OS.

It's based on Linux, but boots in a few seconds straight into a Web browser. Everything you do on the JooJoo takes place inside this browser. Google believes the future of netbook computing belongs inside a browser that runs Web-based applications, and it seems Fusion Garage believes exactly the same logic can be applied to a tablet computer.

Like the iPhone, the JooJoo's 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen supports gestures for zooming in and out of Web pages. There's no physical keyboard for typing, so inputting text into the device means using an on-screen keyboard, again like the iPhone and many other touchscreen devices.

This all supports Rafe's feeling that the JooJoo is a device for enthusiasts who want to browse the Web on a sofa, rather than type up emails at a desk. But would you pay over £300 for the privilege? Let us know in the comments section below.

Fusion Garage will release the JooJoo in the next couple of months, but it hasn't announced UK availability just yet.