The Grid10 tablet has been delayed for a few weeks. In the mean time Microsoft has released its developer’s preview of Windows 8. Since I’ve not been thrilled with the joojoo’s original OS, Ubuntu, Jolicloud, or Window 7 on the joojoo I decided to try out Windows 8.

In a word: Nirvana.

After all the pre-install stuff (installing the 16GB upgraded SDD, attaching a USB hub, keyboard, mouse, an external DVD drive, and forcing the BIOS to boot from the external drive) the install kicked off. I merged all prior SSD partitions into one and let the installer grid away. I didn’t have much faith in the enterprise so I just let it do its thing. When it finished I had several major issues: touch was upside down, the screen was upside down, and I had no sound. A quick update to the touch driver, an OS built-in rotation config screen, and just some fiddling with the sound drivers made all these problems go away. It was installed and patched in record time.

It boots is 11 seconds. Two finger touch is flawless and very responsive. The browser is responsive and clean. It multitasks beautifully. It plays music and HD video smoothly (provided it isn’t DRM-laden, otherwise it must be SD).

There are some minor problems remaining. The rotation sensor isn’t recognized, the ambient light sensor works but can’t be controlled via software, and the custom “joojoo” lights can’t be controlled – but I’m sure these will be resolved.

This is what the joojoo could have been had Fusion Garage had a proper OS, but I can’t fault Fusion Garage; I knew when I bought it that Apple was the only one with a mature tablet OS, the joojoo was based on Ubuntu, and that Canonical hadn’t optimized the OS for tablets yet (they were still working on netbooks at the time). In fact I said at the time that I wanted the joojoo because it was just a PC inside and I could hack it if need be.

My joojoo will spend the rest of its days as a Windows 8 tablet. This makes me both happy and very sad.

I believed in the CrunchPad ideals. I wanted to use Ubuntu or some other open OS, and I spent many hours diving into Jolicloud to make it viable with only incremental success. The original idea behind the CrunchPad (the original incarnation of the joojoo) was to make it an open device, both in terms of hardware and in software. It never sold enough to create a strong hacker community (there are about 50-100 of us out there tinkering with it) and those working to make a viable open OS are very few (perhaps 20 at its height but now dwindling to just a handful).