We're just getting settled in for Fusion Garage's CrunchPad webcast -- we've been promised CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan's version of the 12-inch tablet's bizarre saga, and we've certainly got quite a few questions of our own to ask. We'll start updating just as soon as it starts, so make sure you're up to speed on what went down over the weekend and get ready for some fireworks.
11:32AM We're two minutes past the 9:30AM PST start time and nothing's happening yet. Has Michael Arrington unleashed an army of unstoppable hackers to shut this thing down? We cannot confirm anything at this time.
11:34AM Here we go -- Chandra live on screen. He doesn't seem to know he's live on screen yet, though. He's being told to "relax."
11:35AM "This is the best way to address some of the inaccuracies published by Michael Arrington."
11:36AM "I am an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by heart."
11:37AM "I know the lessons I've learned from my past, and I don't intend to repeat them."
11:37AM "Anyone can repeat emails, and anyone can write a blog post... but Fusion Garage is the only actual doer in this story. I'd like to tell you what Fusion Garage has accomplished."
11:39AM He's saying that Fusion Garage was developing a browser-based OS independently of TechCrunch when he read Michael Arrington's first post on the idea. Arrington promised to do marketing and get investors -- and even promised to eventually acquire Fusion Garage.
11:41AM "Unfortunately, Michael was unable to deliver at the project's date end, in February 2009... pictures of a birthday cake do not mean a contract is in place. If the project was to go forward, it was up to Fusion Garage."
11:42AM "There was never any agreement of any kind between the two companies. This was nothing more than a potential acquisition that didn't occur. Michael sat back while we took all the risk. The suggestion that Michael or TechCrunch owns anything is simply ludicrous."
11:43AM "TechCrunch didn't contribute a single line of code... As Michael wrote in his own April 2009 blog post, 'All credit should go to Fusion Garage.'"
11:44AM Fusion Garage is calling the CrunchPad "JooJoo."
11:45AM "The reason we call it JooJoo is because it means magic, and this device delivers magic."
11:46AM "JooJoo is not a tablet. It performs many tasks like a tablet, but it boots directly into a browser." It booted in nine seconds.
11:47AM 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, no physical buttons beyond the on/off switch. Runs UNIX web-based OS, no pre-loaded apps, windows, or menus.
11:49AM Talking pricing and availability: "There are dreams, and then there are hallucinations." Saying Arrington's dream of a $200 device was unrealistic. Comparing it to iPhone 3GS with a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen at $299 on contract, netbooks at $399 with no touchscreen.
11:50AM JooJoo will be $499, available at thejoojoo.com on December 11.
11:50AM Question time!
11:51AM Asked about Arrington's Friday post about a lawsuit. "Despite what was written, there is no suit filed today. We own the IP and will defend it."
11:51AM We asked about contracts. "Let me emphasize: there are no contracts between Fusion Garage and TechCrunch." Wild. Simply wild.
11:53AM Asked about Arrington's claim that this was out of the blue: "To emphasize: Michael did no deliver on his promises, and we have decided to move on our own."
11:53AM Why is this product going to succeed where others have failed? "We are delivering an excellent form factor which is like, and has a sensitive screen. Most importantly, we don't boot to an OS, we go straight to the browser."
11:54AM The non-lawyers are starting to chime in. What about "verbal assumptions"? "There weren't any verbal assurances other than Michael saying he'd like to buy the company, but nothing came of that."
11:56AM What about Chrome OS? "Google Chrome has a similar vision, but they see this in relation to netbooks, but we think the form factor isn't right for the use cases. We believe tablets are the best form factor. Although the philosophy differs, the execution is different. We're real, we're in the market today."
11:56AM Offline capabilities? "If you want to do Gmail and aren't online, there's a local cache." If connectivity is not available, it'll use a local cache and synch when you have connectivity. Sounds like he's talking about HTML5.
11:57AM So all TechCrunch contributed is marketing? "It depends on what you define as marketing. Michael has helped us talk about what a tablet can do, but so have many others. We can take this to market without TechCrunch... TechCrunch is just a blog."
11:58AM Specs? 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, 4GB SSD, accelerometer, "enough graphic power to deliver full HD video."
11:58AM That strange green tint is a trick of the camera.
11:59AM Battery life is 5 hours without a charge. No SIM slot, WiFi only.
11:59AM They have some partnerships with content companies and will announce when ready.
12:00PM Previously-leaked photos of the CrunchPad, including the packaging with the CrunchPad name, were entirely the work of Fusion Garage. "Michael has no claim to anything."
12:01PM They're going to do demos this week. It's only coming in black, and they think they can meet significant demand.
12:01PM Who are your investors? We've had more than $3m in funding, and we've just completed a new round of funding.
12:02PM And... that's it! We can't say any of that was too unexpected -- but this story just got a whole lot crazier, didn't it? We'll have more for you as soon as we can.