Gao makes the obvious comparison to Apple, which has fewer adaptation
problems because all its devices are designed to work in the closed
"Our goal is to make this work in an
open-system environment. And we need to make sure that this experience
[using μPad] will satisfy most people," said Gao. At the moment, Apexone
has 1,000 customers in China testing μPad for its user experience.
out all the necessary components in a very thin layer was another
challenge. Gao said that Apexone hired away a couple of engineers from
an unnamed company that reportedly developed a 6.2mm thick smartphone
While Gao did not name the company, ZTE's new
smartphone, codenamed Athena, has been teased in a series of snaps on
China's Sina Weibo social network (the Chinese version of Twitter) as
the "world's thinnest smartphone." It will essentially make the 6.68mm
Huawei Ascend P1 S look bloated by comparison. ZTE isn't talking about
the Athena's detailed specs, but the company has revealed that it will
feature a 720p display, multi-core Cortex-A15 processor and Android 4.0
Ice Cream Sandwich, with up to 64GB of storage.
While becoming a
$1 billion chip company is a well-stated goal for many China fablesses,
Gao said that he doesn't see this as his endgame.
What if kids in
China, not just his own 13-year old daughter and 6-year old son -- who
both attend the Shanghai American School, originally with iPads and MacBook Pros, and now are already avid users
of μPad -- but kids living in far-flung cities and rural areas, get a
Forget one laptop per child. Gao can make his dream, of
accomplishing something that changes people's quality of life, come
Even when he left China in 1991 to get his master's degree
and build his work experience in the United States, Gao said he knew he
would eventually go back to China to run his own business and do things
that matter. After his last U.S. job (founding GlobeSpan's design center
in San Diego), Gao returned to China in 2002. Ever since, his sights
have been set on the progress of the human interface. While many
industry observers suggest that "touch" has already replaced the mouse,
Gao demurs. "A lot of people don't even realize that an optical sensor
is used in the trackball on a smart phone." Further, Gao envisions a
time when "optical gesture" will dominate the human interface. Optical
gesture should be able to add mouse-like accuracy to gestures. "Much
better than touch," said Gao.
Does Gao ever lose sleep worrying that his μPad might get copied, with millions of μPad knock-offs cluttering the market?
really, he said. One of the secret sources in his μPad is Apexone’s
optication navigation chip. What separates Apexone from other typical
China startups is its command of a host of patents. Gao holds twenty-six
U.S. and international patents, with another ten pending patents. So,
go ahead, pirates. Try and rip off James Gao.
Sounds like a consumer applicaiton of the ad hoc standard Lexar and others pushed a few years ago for running executable code from a USB flash drive so people could carry their computing to any network computer.
I agree, Rick. This is something many people talked about in the past, but never materialized.
I think the new twists of this whole thing are the progress of Android; proliferation of USB port (in a TV); an optical navigation device Gao talks about; angling to bring in more entertainment content from the Internet, etc. so that this can be played on the consumer mass market front.
Gao tells me that his kids don't play with iPad any more, using muPad to play the game on a big screen.
This does sound very similar to FXITech's "Cotton Candy" USB pc. They are about to start shipping pre-orders. I guess muPad's point of difference may be its optical navigation interface if it is user friendly enough.
I suppose we could see a variety of different USB pc options in the near future depending who holds what patent?
Wow, it seems the muPad is a very amazing device. What is more important is this company which has only 40 people is already a $1B company! It is so encouraging to see Chinese startup can have such a great innovation and even own so many patents!
I want one! Two years ago! Way to go, Apexone.
Since the TV application was mentioned explicitly, imagine what the supposedly "connected TV" vendors will think of this. A thumb drive to really make their "barely connected" TVs truly "connected."
I'm unclear on how the keyboard feature works, especially because it doesn't require a touchscreen, but to me that's details. However it works now, more than likely modifications can be made to fit each use case.
they shrunk the raspberry:
been eyeing one of these:
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.