Tokyo-based UPQ burst onto the Asian startup scene last summer when it came out of stealth to reveal more than a dozen original consumer electronics products – ranging from a budget Android phone to a 4K monitor.
Perhaps the most intriguing bit of UPQ’s story was that its first collection went from concept to production in just two months. Founder Yuko Nakazawa, a former cafe owner, became one of Japan’s most intriguing entrepreneurs almost overnight.
Since we profiled Nakazawa last summer, UPQ’s full product range has gone on sale both online and at brick-and-mortar electronics stores in Tokyo.
This week, the startup announced that it has begun selling two of its gadgets in Singapore via ecommerce giant Lazada: a GoPro-like action camera for S$250 (US$177) and a see-through glass keyboard for the same price. Both items are currently discounted by S$50 (US$35).
Nakazawa hopes to add more UPQ products to the Lazada store soon, and plans to extend availability to additional Asian countries in 2016.
“Wireless items need more certifications, so we’re preparing those now,” she tells Tech in Asia, hinting that her startup’s SIM-free A01 smartphone could be headed for other markets soon. It retails for just JPY 14,500 (US$119).
In addition to the Singapore launch, UPQ also announced this week that it will reveal a new version of the A01 on December 21. Nakazawa declined to share further details about the upcoming handset, but says that it’s a minor update ahead of much bigger news coming in about two months.
“I’ll release my new UPQ product lineup in February,” she says.
The fast-moving gadget creator is tight-lipped about what to expect then, and wouldn’t tell us how much revenue her current lineup has generated – except to say that several items from her inaugural “Blue x Green” series have sold out, including the relatively pricey JPY 75,000 (US$617) 50-inch 4K display.
Nakazawa promised that future releases would also follow the one-color theme on a seasonal basis, so fans of the brand will be eager to know what hue the new year brings. I, for one, hope it’s not Hot Pink or Deep Purple.
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