By Stephen Schenck | September 26, 2011 12:48 PM
Fusion Garage will be breaking into the smartphone market with the release of its Grid 4 handset, running a customized Android build called Grid OS. While we wait for the smartphone to arrive, the FCC has published its testing documentation, giving us some new images at the hardware along with some more information about what to expect from Grid OS.
The pictures don’t show us much we haven’t seen before, since Fusion Garage’s site has been chock-full of high-quality Grid 4 renders since we learned of its existence, but this is the first time we’re getting the chance to see actual photos of a Grid 4 in the flesh. This time the phone has a silver back and sides, rather than the all-black construction depicted on FG’s site. We haven’t heard of multiple color options, and the FCC pics look a bit unrefined, so there’s a chance we’re looking at a non-finalized version of the handset’s facade.
Frequency testing shows the Grid 4 will have compatibility with AT&T’s network in the US.
While the Grid 4′s hardware may not be that exciting on its own, we’re very curious to see how Grid OS plays out. It has an Android kernel, and can run Android apps, but has a UI all its own. The FCC has published the phone’s quick-start guide, which mentions some of the system’s features.
The phone’s home screen is known as the Grid launcher, and presents a multiple-screen layout with an overlayed “map” display to show you what sub-section of the Grid you’re currently looking at. The web browser is optimized to free-up screen real-estate for the site you’re viewing, hiding all controls and status bars until you tap on the screen to bring them up. FG is introducing something it calls the Tao Bar, which will act like Android notifications, automatically suggesting things to do or places to go based on what you’re currently up to.
All in all, these OS features sound a lot like things you could do in stock Android with a new launcher and some custom apps, but there’s something to be said for taking all those ideas and bringing them together into one, for a unified look-and-feel across the platform. Will it work for the Grid 4? We should know soon, with a release expected in Q4.