Skip to main content

This Touchscreen Network Router is Powerd by KitKat

There's a crowdfunding project over on Indiegogo called "Soap," an intelligent router that runs on Android 4.4 "KitKat" and has a built-in touchscreen. The team behind this router is looking to score a mere $42,500 USD, and has managed to snag 56 percent of the goal. As of this writing, the project still has 22 days to go.

There are actually four routers in the Soap family: the Soap Solo, the Soap Dual, the Soap Quad and the Soap 8.4. The names hint to what's inside the box: a Freescale i.MX6 Solo processor, a Freescale iMX6 Dual, and a Freescale iMX6 Quad that's inside the Soap Quad and the Soap 8.4.

In addition to the processors, the Soap Solo packs 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. The Soap Dual has 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, as does the Soap Quad. The Soap 8.4 has 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, and an additional 128 GB SSD. The Soap Solo, Soap Dual and Soap Quad all have 7-inch touch screens, while the Soap 8.4 has a larger 8.4-inch screen.

The network routers will ship with four exclusive apps: Soap Automation that serves as the home automation hub; Soap Guardian for monitoring children on the network; Soap Security to protect the home network; and Soap Wi-Fi, which is the router's control panel. These routers are also compatible with home automation protocols including ZigBee, Z-Wave, Insteon, Bluetooth 4.0, X10 RF, 433 MHz and more. Thus the Soap Automation app has the ability to control all the connected devices in the home or office. Users can even close the garage door by using Apple's Siri.

A list of external ports includes one Gigabit WAN, four Gigabit LAN, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, and two USB 3.0 ports (on the side). The routers are also Wireless AC compatible, meaning users can see speeds up to 1.3 Gbps on the 5.0 GHz band using a Wireless AC device. These routers actually have two Wi-Fi chipsets, with the second set serving the Wireless N crowd with speeds up to 150 Mbps.

"The primary WiFi chipset has three external SMA antenna ports for increasing reception," reads the page. "The secondary WiFi chipset has one internal PCB antenna and one external SMA connector for antenna extension for reception."

Not to worry: even if the OS looks like a forked version of Android, owners will have full access to Google Play. Users can install Netflix, Pandora Radio, iHeartRadio, Twitter and more directly onto the routers. There will also be dedicated Soap apps for iOS 7 and iOS 8, Android devices and Windows for remote access.

For more information about the new Soap routers, head here.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Filiprino
    HAHAHAH, SKYNET IS COMING.
    Reply
  • MagicPants
    I just watched the video, and although I enjoyed the part where the mom is a total dick to her kids, I have to wonder at the utility of turning my fridge off and on remotely. As well as the legality of closing your garage door when your aren't present (just wait until the first person gets one closed on their head.)
    Reply
  • razor512
    Seems to be an overpriced gimmick router. Generally if you spend a lot on a router, you likely have other higher end systems, There is no motivation to use the router for running random android apps (imagine if something like that gets infected (since android is more full featured, it is a huge target, and outdated versions of android are not likely to get any kind of security update, Due to the update cycle of android and abandonment of older versions, how long will this company actually support the router?
    If your smartphone gets infected, then the attacker gets access to whatever is on your smartphone, if your router gets infected, then the attacker can access all all that is saved onto the router, in addition to having access to all of the traffic on your network, meaning they can do sidejacking for when you head to your banking site, alter DNS settings to ensure that you use their phishing sites, access all local resources in addition to access to ports that will generally not be accessible over the WAN.

    The reason why android for router projects failed in the past is because it is a nightmare to secure long term. The more common router firmware, is generally a heavily stripped down linux distro with only the mare minimum code needed to provide the desired routing functions, this allows a router to get away with 2556MB of RAM (android 4.4, can pull nearly 500MB of RAM just on its self, in addition to doing random periodic crap in the background which on a android phone, will mean that a certain task takes a few extra milliseconds to do, On a router, that same action will mean that you get a lag spike in your multiplayer game, or a huge throughput dip (especially if you use QOS)

    They partially skimped on the wifi in order to build in a cheap android tablet and still have a huge profit margin.

    (also how convenient would you find your current android or iOS tablet, if it had no battery and needed to have at least a power cable and an ethernet cable connected? )

    It is likely a better value to have a separate android tablet and router, and thus get 2 devices that do their own thing far better than the all in one that compromises in both areas.
    Reply
  • Kewlx25
    I agree with razor512. A router/firewall is not a place for lots of surface area attacks via lots of apps. The features sound possibly interesting, but it is the wrong place to bundle all of those.
    Reply
  • WithoutWeakness
    This thing already received a huge amount of funding ($142K!) on Kickstarter and hasn't shipped and now they're showing "upgraded" models on Indiegogo and looking for another $40K+ in funding? Plus they're charging previous backers $300 on top of their previous $150+ pledges to upgrade to the new models? I'm not sure what's going on here but I'm hesitant to put any money towards this until I can pick it up off a retail store shelf and have a return policy attached to it.

    Link to previous Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/soaprouter/soap-first-smart-router-w-touch-display-powered-by
    Reply
  • Be0wulf22
    My router is in a closet and I haven't so much as looked at it in months...maybe years. Why would I want it to have a touch screen?
    Reply
  • razor512
    13541252 said:
    This thing already received a huge amount of funding ($142K!) on Kickstarter and hasn't shipped and now they're showing "upgraded" models on Indiegogo and looking for another $40K+ in funding? Plus they're charging previous backers $300 on top of their previous $150+ pledges to upgrade to the new models? I'm not sure what's going on here but I'm hesitant to put any money towards this until I can pick it up off a retail store shelf and have a return policy attached to it.

    Link to previous Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/soaprouter/soap-first-smart-router-w-touch-display-powered-by



    Seems like the makings of a scam, get a bunch of electronic engineering students together to come up with a project that looks cool as long as you do not dig into the details, then put it on as many crowd funding sites as possible, and keep the money. (a lot lower risk than paying a factory to make a bunch of routers, and then dealing with the logistics of getting them tested and shipped (in addition to dealing with distributors who often want a 60% margin on the items)

    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    Seems to be an overpriced gimmick router.

    It would, to someone who can't look beyond the their own techniness. Look, the reason we have ubiquitous smart phones is because apple made the friggin iphone so easy anyone could use it.

    Now, with these guys, if they can get people controlling networks with ease then maybe people will go beyond learning apps, and start understanding general networking.
    Reply
  • syrious1
    Seems to be an overpriced gimmick router.

    It would, to someone who can't look beyond the their own techniness. Look, the reason we have ubiquitous smart phones is because apple made the friggin iphone so easy anyone could use it.

    Now, with these guys, if they can get people controlling networks with ease then maybe people will go beyond learning apps, and start understanding general networking.

    Cmmon really? We're talking about setting up a friggen router here, a child at Best Buy could set the thing up for you.

    This is a gimmick. Apps on my router? WTF even is that. I don't need google play or custom rom's of android running on anything that is supposed to have an inkling of security. Android is not secure.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    13541521 said:
    My router is in a closet and I haven't so much as it looked at it in months...maybe years. Why would I want it to have a touch screen?

    Exactly. On the rare occasions I need to mess with it, I bring up the admin page on my PC.

    The router needs to do one thing. Be a router, and route traffic. Apps? No way.
    Reply