US firm says it's got a slice of the Apple Peel

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 September, 2010, 12:00am

A gadget invented by a young Shenzhen programmer that can turn an iPod Touch into a phone will arrive in Apple's homeland soon, a US-based technology company says.

Go Solar USA said in an online posting on Wednesday that it had signed a funding option agreement last week with Shenzhen-based Yosion - a two-brother team from Henan province - to introduce the device to US customers.

In an e-mail sent to Mobile magazine, a US online publication that covers mobile technology, Go Solar's headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana, said that the device had been submitted to the US Federal Communications Commission for approval.

'We are so pleased to have reached this agreement with Yosion,' Go Solar president Tyson Rohde said. 'We see the Apple Peel 520 as a stunning breakthrough in mobile technology, and we're proud to work with Yosion to develop this product for the US market.'

The Apple Peel 520 encases Apple's powerful iPod Touch media player and gives it voice calling and text messaging functions by using a built-in SIM card slot and battery. Users need to install software written by 22-year-old Pan Yong that breaks into the iPod Touch's software to allow use of non-Apple applications, an action known as jailbreaking.

Pan Lei, Pan Yong's elder brother and Yosion's spokesman, confirmed yesterday that it was discussing with Go Solar the possibility of bringing the gadget to the US market.

'But no final deal has been made and the agreement is optional,' Pan Lei said. 'It will be fantastic if Go Solar can help us solve IPR [intellectual property rights] problems in the US and we would then like to co-operate with them, if their conditions are not too tough.' Pan Lei said that after they uploaded video of the device online in July, at least 30 sales companies - a third were from overseas - had contacted them asking to be their agents. He said they were also seeking help from powerful domestic companies. 'We are working on applying for legal licences [for the device] from mainland telecommunications regulators,' he said. 'We still want to enter the market, both in China and the US, via legal methods.'

It remains to be seen whether the Apple Peel 520, which will cost just 388 yuan (HK$443), can gain Federal Communications Commission approval and what its impact on the US mobile market will be if it does.

Apple has not commented on the issue and could not be contacted yesterday. Go Solar says that at the right price, around US$60, the device could become the world's hottest iPod accessory. According to its figures, 275 million iPod Touches have already been sold.

US tech website Zoknows says Yosion will develop a new version of the Apple Peel that will not require jailbreaking.

Core price

At least 30 sales companies wanted to be Yosion's agents

Go Solar USA says the Apple Peel could be the hottest iPod accessory, at the right price of, in US dollars: $60