Xiaomi Announces New Smart Ukulele, The Populele
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play the ukulele, but never quite figured out how to get started, Xiaomi has you covered: the company will be selling the “Populele,” an electronic version of the Hawaiian folk instrument from March 28 onward. The tiny guitar will likely only be available online through the Chinese manufacturer’s crowdfunding website Mijia and will cost just under $60.
Though it may seem odd at first glance, the ukulele is apparently quite popular in mainland China as the crowdfunded project gathered almost 400% of its stated goal in just a few days. Part of the reason for this success may lie in the fact that the Populele is an absolutely gorgeous instrument. It’s made of Indonesian rosewood, with strings made of Italian nylon, even if consumers don’t choose to play it, they’ll have a lovely conversation piece sitting in their living room.
Then again, the Populele takes away any reason not to play it. Built with beginners in mind, the fingerboard of the instrument has 72 LED lights laid in, guiding strummers to play whatever song they picked on the accompanying app. The app has around 100 songs, meaning that by the time you get through those, you’ll likely be a master ukulelist.
To learn the ukulele without a teacher, all you need is the $60 Populele, a phone that runs at least Android 4.3 or iOS 8.0, a Bluetooth 4.0 connection, and you’re good to go. Carrying it around should be no problem as it weighs just 500 grams (little over a pound) and you get a lovely bag to go with it. Keeping it charged should be no problem either as its 800mAh battery can charge through microUSB. If learning the ukulele has been your dream, the Populele may just be the answer.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.