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JooJoo Ships Tablet PC

Fusion Garage says it is shipping the device formerly known as the Crunchpad ahead of Apple's iPad.

Fusion Garage has started shipping the JooJoo tablet PC in the United States, making the device available before the highly anticipated release of the Apple iPad.

The JooJoo, originally called the Crunchpad, has a 12.l-inch capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a 4 GB solid-state drive and built-in Webcam and microphone for video chat. The device is powered by a proprietary, Web-centric version of Linux that boots in less than 10 seconds, the company says.

Fusion Garage, which started taking pre-orders for the JooJoo Dec. 11, said it began shipping the device from the factory Thursday. Customers who pre-ordered the tablet should receive it Monday, March 29, the company said.

The JooJoo is not expected to give the iPad much competition. Fusion Garage has neither an extensive developer network, nor a successful online store to facilitate downloads of third-party applications, as Apple does. Given the JooJoo's features, industry observers have said the slate's price tag of $499 is too high.

In fact, the JooJoo has received more attention through the legal tussle it caused between Fusion Garage and TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, who first thought of the device. Arrington had envisioned a $200 Web-surfing device, which he called the CrunchPad, and had partnered with Fusion Garage, which was to be the manufacturer.

However, Arrington left the project last November, saying in his blog that it had "self-destructed over nothing more than greed, jealousy, and miscommunication." Fusion Garage Chief Executive Chandra Rathakrishnan went ahead with the project alone.

Last December, Arrington filed a federal lawsuit in northern California against Fusion Garage, claiming the company stole his intellectual property. Rathakrishnan has denied the allegations. The lawsuit is pending.

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