Singapore’s a pretty tech-savvy country, and it’s no surprise that innovations and upcoming creations from our shores reflect just that. We may be one of the smallest countries around, but with cool and some really important contributions to the world of tech, we’ve certainly put ourselves on the map. Here are eight brilliant brands and bits of tech from Singapore that have made the world a better place.
Who would’ve thought something this essential and staple to our daily tech could’ve been designed on our little island?
While there are plenty of competing claims for the maker of world’s first thumb drive, Singapore was the first to get it a commercial release. In a partnership with IBM, the 8MB “ThumbDrive” was manufactured. It was a huge step for storage devices too, as your old floppy disks only packed 1440KB of storage. And the rest is history.
Razer and gaming go hand in hand. And amazingly, though it may be based in the U.S., it was founded by a Singaporean.
Indisputably the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers, Rzor and its triple-headed snake logo can be recognized anywhere. It may not be the most affordable in the range, but earns its place thanks to ridiculously good, and of course excellent gaming hardware and software married with a commitment to build-quality.
In its arsenal are plenty of iconic products, from laptops to mice and keyboards; you’ve probably used one before and loved it for its great ergonomics and tactile feel.
It wouldn’t be a list of best Singaporean tech without the iconic X-Mini.
Xmi are pretty significant in driving portable speakers forward in the world. And unlike other portable speakers of that time, X-Minis were properly small with unmatchable sound. You may remember the classic capsule speakers with their Bass Xpansion System—the accordion-like chamber that can be opened for even better sound. It was revolutionary at the time, and is still being duplicated today.
After 10 whole years and dozens of awards brought back to the country, Xmi have released a whole new range of speakers that are well-priced and pack great audio. The past few years may not have been smooth for our darling homegrown brand, but the future sure looks bright.
Surely you’ve heard of Creative, and possibly owned several products of your own stashed up in your room once upon a time. Founded in 1981, this is Singapore’s very own digital entertainment product company that has been changing the game ever since the release of their Sound Blaster sound cards.
It was the world’s first dedicated audio processing card—like a brain just for sounds—and it allowed computers to produce more than just “beeps” and “blips”. It contains the features still used today—music synthesisers, digital audio, joystick ports and other parts crucial for audio in devices.
The glory days of the Sound Blaster sound card may be well behind us, but Creative has sprung forward to deliver solid products yearly, from the highly affordable Creative Muvo to the room-thumping Sound Blaster Roar line.
Necessity finds itself the mother of invention again; with our sizeable citizen-soldier population and large defence industry with plenty of restricted zones, our NS men needed a smartphone that could meet their daily needs. The iNO One was hence the first certified non-camera smartphone based on the Android 4.0 platform that was made with Singaporeans in mind. Back then, most users resorted to using old Nokias and conventional phones that were far from “smart”, or had to buy pricey smartphones only to do it a disservice by removing or sandblasting the camera.
iNO solved the widespread Singaporean dilemma and then some, as its phones weren’t just well-built but also well-priced, which made this the ideal phone to grab before booking in. XiaoMi may have risen and taken over the title of the go-to non-camera phone, thanks to mighty low prices (and how it didn’t feel like a kick in the teeth when its cameras were removed), but we can always feel good about how Singapore’s tech industry rose to occasion when there was a need.
Apps are tech too, and Carousell stands proud as one of the best innovations from Singapore in recent years.
This needs no introduction. Got stuff you don’t want? Don’t throw it, list it! There’s bound to be someone who can make use of it somewhere in Singapore. Carousell’s genius is its blending of Craigslist and Instagram, making it fun and simple to get your stuff sold.
Recent developments like “bumping” and other marketing ploys have seen Carousell-ing become trickier for casual sellers not part of Carousell-based businesses, but it still remains the best platform for selling pre-loved stuff. The days ahead look exciting too, as Carousell is currently working on incorporating AI into their app so you can list products in a matter of seconds.
You can’t miss this; its everywhere. Challenger’s house brand Valore has really made a name for itself. The quality isn’t amazing, nor are its products pretty to look at, but they make up for all those shortcomings with great value and vast coverage—they make just about everything tech.
From the common cables and powerbanks, to gaming peripherals, drones and rotating display cases, Valore has got you covered. In fact, you can count on Valore for just about anything at an entry-level or for used for daily needs.
It may not be our best, but it’s commendable that a homegrown brand has made such an impact in local tech. Hats off.
Here’s one that’s really taken off in recent years, AFTERSHOCK PC.
For serious gamers; these guys specialize in customization and bespoke rigs, piecing together the PC of your dreams from the inside out. They rock premium brands and excellent service, really making a name for themselves. It’s not just CPUs either, they’ve ventured into gaming laptops that offer some ferocious specs at good prices.
Singaporean developer Clean Shaven Apps recently became one of the winners of the very prestigious Apple Design Award at WWDC this year, which awards independent developers for outstanding Mac and iOS software and hardware.
The award was given to their super intuitive currency converter app, Elk – Travel Currency Converter. It shows conversions for currencies in a table, one for the home currency and another for the currency of interest. These currencies can be compared across 10 values, which can be adjusted simply by swiping instead of typing—fewer actions to get the figure you want.
This story originally appeared on Stuff Singapore, bringing you what's next in the world of tech and gadgets, with a twist.
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