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'JooJoo' razzed at $499 as CrunchPad litigation proceeds

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(Read caption) The JooJoo, once known as the CrunchPad, debuted in a webcast Monday.

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Talk about a chewy reception.

The tablet PC formerly known as CrunchPad saw its first webcast Monday. This much-hyped and assumed-DOA device reemerged today under the name "JooJoo" and in the hands of its new masters, FusionGarage, which forged ahead after its partnership with TechCrunch dissolved.

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The vitals: It'll cost $499 for the 2.4 pound tablet with a 12.1 inch capacitive touch screen. Communication is Wi-Fi-only, and there's 4 GB of onboard flash storage, but FusionGarage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan, who presented the webcast, said that most of the storage would be in the cloud. Like Google Chrome OS, the interface is a browser, with applications run on the Web, instead of on the device. Pre-orders will kick off on Friday.

Contradicting former partner Michael Arrington's assertions that the CrunchPad-turned-JooJoo was the TechCrunch editor's idea, Rathakrishnan began the webcast by downplaying Arrington's role in the project, emphasizing that TechCrunch repeatedly failed to deliver. Arrington last week came forward with a story of the CrunchPad's demise, fraught with greed and betrayal.

Many tech notables wasted no time dissing JooJoo, calling it too expensive and questioning the sluggishness and strange coloring of the onscreen demo.

NPD analyst Ross Rubin tweeted that, at $499, the JooJoo is:

$100 more than 9" ARM/OMAP-based Always Innovating Touch Book, including $100 keyboard add-on

(We eyed the Touch Book longingly in March.)

Much of the criticism defended Arrington, who said Monday that legal action against Rathakrishnan and FusionGarage was in motion.

"If I were @arrington I'd be breathing a big sigh of relief," Robert Scoble tweeted. "A $500 tablet is NOT what he envisioned." Referring to the rumored Apple tablet to come, he continued, "Apple is gonna eat this guy's lunch."

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GDGT's Peter Rojas wasted no time creating a discussion of the device on his site, titling it "Um, seriously?" It since has seen 30+ posts ridiculing the JooJoo and predicting its demise.


What's your take? Is $500 too much to pay for a touch-screen Web tablet? Will the JooJoo be caught up in litigation? Leave a comment and catch up with us in Twitter.