In little over a month, Pan Lei and Pan Yong have seen their wildest dream come to fruition. And now, it seems, the whole world wants to know them.

The Chinese inventors/entrepreneurs have developed the Apple Peel 520 gadget which basically turns an iPod Touch device into a mobile phone and such has been the attention they have received that companies from all over the world have been in contact with offers of distribution partnerships.

Local media, meanwhile, have heralded this "Chinese invention'' while consumers are lining up to grab an Apple Peel of their own. The iPhone - which was launched in mainland China in October last year - now sells for around 4,000 yuan (475 euros), while an iPod Touch goes for around 1,600 yuan (186 euros) and the Apple Peel around 400 yuan (47 euros).

Pan Lei, meanwhile, has gone public with his concerns that the pair's company - Yosion Technology, which is based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen - won't be able to afford the time or money needed to copyright their invention, a statement sure to raise an ironic eyebrow among those international companies who have over the years fallen victim to infamous Chinese-produced brand knockoffs.

"Such obstacles are like big mountains to us small inventors, and we certainly can't climb over them,'' he told the South China Morning Post.

The Apple Peel device encases the iPod Touch and by using a built-in SIM card slot and a battery gives it voice calling and text messaging functions. There have been some complaints about just how clear the resulting mobile phone's reception is. But Darren Murph of the tech-savvy Engadget website (http://www.engadget.com) still believes the device is worth it for all the worry.

"You'll need to jailbreak your device first, and you'll have to deal with a static (read: impossible to adjust) call volume, quirky SMS delivery and blanked messages for missed calls, but hey - a small price to pay for the upgrade, right?'' he wrote.

MS

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