2013 has been said to be the year of the smart watch. We’re already three-quarters of the way through it, and we’ve only just seen a revamped Sony SmartWatch, the Galaxy Gear and the Pebble. We’ll probably have to wait until 2014 to see what Microsoft and Apple have in store for the wearable computer market, but one company has decided to take a leap of faith into an untested market – the children’s smart watch market.
TechCrunch reports today that FiLIP Technologies has partnered with AT&T to sell the FiLIP smart watch to overbearing parents across the country this holiday season. The kid-friendly smart watch lacks many of the features that you’ll see in Sony’s Smartwatch or the Galaxy Gear, but it makes up for it with constant parental surveillance.
In essence, the FiLIP acts as a GPS locator. It allows a parent to pair the FiLIP with their phone via an app and then the parent can see their child’s location at any time. It will also allow them to set up a safe zone for their children on a map and then receive a notification if their child ever leaves that safe zone.
As for communications features, parents can speak to their children via the built in speaker and mic, or they can just simply send the child a text.
Beyond location and communication features, the FiLIP also features what the company calls “Intelligent Emergency.” If at any time a child feels threatened, they can press and hold the red button on the side of the watch for three seconds. After those three seconds, the FiLIP will begin to send out phone calls to five pre-designated numbers. It will also record any and all ambient noise around the child. In a worst case scenario, the watch will also send for emergency services by calling 911.
Beyond the overprotective parent, will the FiLIP appeal to anybody else? Well, it’s being designed for children 11 years of age and younger so one would assume it’s for the parent who’s uncomfortable with their child owning a smartphone at such a young age.
Personally, I’m against letting kids under the age of 16 own a smartphone for a variety of reasons, but hey, I’m not your kid’s parent. You have to decide what’s best for them. If FiLIP and all its privacy destroying implications sound alright to you, you can pick one up this holiday season for an unspecified price.