Ever since the release of the iPad, companies have tried over and over to come out with a product designed to outmatch it. The newest thrive belongs to Fusion Garage who recently released its Grid 10 tablet.
The Fusion second take at catching up with the iPad reveals its efforts to learn from the previous mistakes. They put aside the Intel INTC chip that they used for their first table, JooJoo and opted for an NVidia processor with an ARM design, matching in doing so the current standard of smartphones and tablets.
Furthermore, the new product aimed to be both thinner and lighter than its predecessor. Also Grid runs on a version of Android and enables the use of Android applications.
In the price area, Fusion released an entry level Grid 10 that costs only $300, which places the product about $200 below the price of both the iPad itself and several other iPad wannabe competitors.
Fusion decided not to go with the Honeycomb, an application developed by Google for tables, but to run its own designed interface. The home screen represents a giant grid, of which u can only see one part at a time, populated by clusters of app icons. As if u were aiming to reveal a map by dragging its corners around with your fingertip, the new interface enables looking around the Grid in the same fashion. For fast access of a certain part of the grid, the tablet has a small scale map of the entire place which provides access to a specific part at the tap of a finger.
The interface resembles a desk where you can pile up apps wherever you chose too. As cute as this approach might feel at first glance, the disorganized piles scattered around make it usually difficult to retrace one’s steps to finding a specific app.
The Grid 10 has only one button that can be actually taped, the on and off one, other than this the only way to interact with the tablet is through gesturing. You tap on app icon to launch it, drag two fingers from up to bottom to go back to the home menu, or from right to left to go back just to the previous screen.
The complete lack of physical buttons might become really unsettling when you need to do things in a rush and the series of gestures needed for a simple action like turning up the volume might be frustrating.
Furthermore, certain gestures result in different actions every time you use them. For example the back swipe can either take you from the app screen to the home one, or to a previous menu screen within an app, or to a completely new home page that is running an application.
Ever since it was launched, the Grid 10 didn’t manage to give the feeling of a finished product, despite the numerous bug fixing patches and new features releases. In its so called final form the tablet still shows obvious issues such as the memory problem. You exit a program and the tablet doesn’t shut it down, therefore one can be running ten apps at the same time without even being aware of it thus making the tablet run very laggy since the memory isn’t big enough to support such a strain. Even though you can use the Heartbeat feature that shows you all the apps running at one time, you still need to tap each one of them to shut them down resulting in having to perform three separate actions to have one app actually switching off.
Furthermore, dodging the use of Google’s tablet interface Fusion makes its customers only shop for apps at Amazon, which does display a large variety of apps but still lacks some majorly used ones only available on Google’s Apps Marketplace.
Even though Fusion Garage deserves credit for learning from their previous mistakes and keeping clean of them with the new tablet, they seem to have yet again launched a product which falls short of its mark.