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If there's one thing that smartphones have taught us, it's that small devices can surf the internet and play games just fine, thank you. With that philosophy in mind, the brains behind eMachines have launched the $99 MiiPC on Kickstarter with the goal of giving kids their own mini PC to surf the web, play games or videos, and, yes, do homework. To keep costs down, the tiny device is packing Android 4.2, a Marvell 1.2GHz dual core CPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB upgradeable storage, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, ethernet and 1080p HDMI output to a monitor or TV. The backers say it's "designed for large screen connectivity and optimized to provide a true keyboard and mouse experience" so that each family member can run Android apps from their own accounts. For worried parents, the device brings an interesting twist: there's also a mobile iOS or Android companion app to monitor your offspring in real-time from any locale. That'll let you steer them away from verboten websites and stave off dreaded internet addiction, according to the outfit -- bearing in mind, of course, that kids can be pretty clever. The campaign's just kicked off, and MiiPC's seeking $50,000 with a $99 pledge ($89 for the first 200 backers) netting you your own device -- sans keyboard, mouse and screen, of course. Check the video and PR after the break for more.
Previous project update: The Gridcase Reactor, which provides an emergency power backup to your iPhone 5, has only managed to crank out $6,200 in pledges towards its whopping $350,000 goal on the new funding site Crowd Supply. It's got 40 days left to find the balance.
Kickstarter launched for MiiPC – the first family friendly Android Computer
eMachines Founder Aims to Disrupt PC Market through Crowd Funding
San Mateo, CA-March 25, 2013- MiiPC, a new Kickstarter project, has been launched today by Young Song, the founder of eMachines. Young is looking to upset the traditional PC market again by launching the first family computer on Android, starting from $89 on a Kickstarter early bird discount. MiiPC allows parents to give their young children access to the Internet under their supervision from a companion mobile app.
MiiPC offers parents the chance to let their children surf the web, play games, watch media and do their homework, safe in the knowledge that they can make sure their children are not exposed to disturbing videos, unsuitable apps and inappropriate websites. The device comes
with a HDMI connection, so it can be hooked up to computer monitors and most modern TVs and with two USB ports the whole experience is optimized to provide a true keyboard and mouse experience.
Parents also have access to a MiiPC companion mobile app giving them complete peace of mind knowing that they can monitor the real-time activities of their children from anywhere - work, the supermarket, a restaurant. While they're on the move, parents can instantly adjust
the settings that allow their children access to games, YouTube, Facebook and other distractions from homework and learning at home.
Young Song, co-founder of eMachines which was acquired by Gateway in 2004 for $265m, is the brains behind this new concept of PC and admits that kids should be trusted to use the internet, under supervision: "MiiPC came out of my experience with my two kids. We think the Internet has opened up all sorts of possibilities and I love my children have access to information for their classes at the tip of their fingertips. However at the same time the Internet poses significant challenges for parents.
Traditional software or hardware solutions simply block kids from going to certain websites. This is inherently limiting and it also does not address what we believe is a key challenge with kids and the Internet: its addictiveness."
"We developed MiiPC as a simple and elegant solution. It allows you to monitor your child's activity, but at the same time start an open and honest conversation with them about the content they're looking at and the time they spend on different tasks."
MiiPC has been developed to stop family squabbles over the computer use, too. Multi-user accounts can be set-up for different family members, giving each different access to suitable apps and games. A parent can register any number of family members and can carefully
monitor use (and misuse!) in real time on the MiiPC companion mobile app. You can see if one member is hogging the computer and make sure that every child gets their time online.
MiiPC runs on top of Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and is compatible with many popular Android applications. To complete the desktop computing experience MiiPC comes with pre-bundled Android apps and access to a Web Apps Center which will include productivity,
games, entertainment, multimedia and educational selections.
Full specifications include:
· Processor: Marvell® ARMADA® 1500 Series Dual Core1.2GHz SoC /
Memory: 1GB DDR System RAM
· Storage: 4GB Internal Flash (expandable via SD Slot and USB port)
· Connectivity: WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), Ethernet Port, and Bluetooth (4.0)
· Connect to TV: HDMI (1080p/720p) output
· I/O: 2 USB 2.0 Ports, Speaker & Microphone Jack
· MiiPC Companion Mobile App for iOS and Android
*Keyboard, mouse & HDMI cable are sold separately
MiiPC is hoping to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to test the market for a PC aimed at bringing back 'power to the parents' and can only become a reality by being backed by parents from around the world. To back MiiPC please visit: www.miipc.com/kickstarter and as an early bird
backer you will receive your MiiPC before June 15th 2013.
MiiPC has been created by a team of developers at ZeroDesktop, Inc, based in Silicon Valley.
ZeroDesktop, Inc. is a leading developer of next generation Cloud Operating System and Cloud Service Brokerage Solutions for Consumers, Telecoms, OEMs, ISVs and Enterprises. The ZeroDesktop Infrastructure aggregates scattered digital content from local storage, network
drives and cloud services providing unified access by PCs, tablets andmobile devices.
Combining their software expertise in Cloud technologies along with their own personal understanding and experience of family struggles with the Internet led them to conceive of MiiPC.
This is ZeroDesktop's first product that combines hardware and software aimed at the consumer marketplace. ZeroDesktop is headquartered in San Mateo, CA and has 18 employees worldwide with development centers in both Silicon Valley and Europe.
Find MiiPC on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miipc/164658463684389 and Twitter@MiiPC4kids