Following a very successful funding campaign on Kickstarter, the Ubiquitous Computer – or Ubi for short – has entered just the pre-order stage ahead of expected shipping early next year.
At the launch of the Kickstarter campaign back in August, the Ubi team set a modest funding target of US$36,000 to get the always-on, voice-activated, connected micro computer into production. This barrier was smashed very early on in the campaign and by its close on September 18, the project had attracted over 1,000 backers who collectively pledged a total of $229,594.
Ubi plugs into a standard power outlet and wirelessly connects to an existing home or office network using 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi technology (although it also has Bluetooth 4.0). It features onboard temperature, humidity, air pressure and ambient light sensors that monitor the surrounding environment and feedback data to the user on request. The Ubi is designed to sync with others on the home/office network so that all behave as one.
Stereo speakers and a microphone allow users to interact with Ubi by voice, while also catering for speakerphone and intercom functionality, but an app on iOS/Android devices can also be used to program, control and monitor the unit. A USB port at the side caters for connection to storage devices (the Ubi comes with 4 GB of solid state storage), home automation systems, additional sensors, and so on. The development team plans to ship Ubi with Android pre-loaded.
If you don't like its given name, this can be changed so that the unit wakes up from stand-by when it hears you call it sweetheart, HAL, ORAC or whatever name you've chosen.
At the pre-order stage, single Ubi units are priced at $219, which will increase to a regular price of $269 when shipping begins. The company's CEO Leor Grebler told us that there's a current shipping window of April 2013.
Buyers can also make multiple purchases, with a ten pack currently costing $1,399. Further system enhancements (including multi-language support) and a software development kit are in the works, too.