If your kids are pestering you for a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, but you don’t see the point of spending all that cash, you may see the point with a different kind of wearable. One that monitors and let’s you talk to them.
The technology world may have mostly been focused on smartphones for the past few weeks — on big new smartphones — but that doesn’t mean phones are all there is in the communication world. You might regularly rely on that glass, metal, or plastic backed softened rectangle you call a phone, but it’s not the only way to talk to get information, because there is also the wearable.
A device category that is exactly as it sounds, the wearable is a communication device you wear, typically around your wrist. You’ll know them from the Apple Watch, from the Samsung Galaxy and Huawei Watch GT, and these days, some of these can be used to talk to a phone or even a cellular network of their own.
But they also tend to cost a pretty penny, and that can mean that they’re not going to be for everyone.
They look cool and fancy, and tend to draw attention, though, which means everyone who loves the idea of future technology is probably going to want one, which includes your kids, too.
We don’t know many people that would go out of their way to give their kids a $400 or $500 smartwatch alongside their phone, and so we don’t see many kids with the wearable communication device like a smartwatch, unless there’s a good reason.
If that reason is, say, that it is the phone for the kids, and that it can do double duty and track where the kids are to make sure they’re not skipping school or doing something dodgy, we suspect parents might take more notice.
And that’s what one wearable released this week is being made to do, with Alcatel developing its own wearable for kids, combining the phone and tracker into one wrist-worn device made for the little ones in your life.
Called the “Alcatel Movetime Family Watch”, it’s a watch with a touchscreen that can allow parents to monitor the location of their kids, and even tell them when they leave a “safe zone” set up by the parents.
The technology in the Alcatel Movetime Family Watch is basically a small 3G phone, and one that features the ability to send messages and handle calls to a list of designated contacts, like that of mum, dad, and friends the parents have set up.
Alcatel’s Family Watch will support those calls as well as voice messages, and we’re told it also technically offers up to two days of battery life, while still working with a GPS. Bluetooth is also supported, so if your kids have wireless headphones, they should work here, too, and the Family Watch is also water and dust resistant, rated for IP67 protection level.
That GPS tracking will require an app from the parent’s point of view, mind you, so if you want to see where your kids are, you’ll need the TCLMove app for iOS or Android, which ever is the phone you use.
As far as security for the GPS technology goes, representatives for Alcatel told Pickr that the company doesn’t retain the information at all, and that “it all sits on an external secure server”.
“As a father, I’m passionate about the launch of the Alcatel Movetime Family Watch 3G as it helps give children the independence they crave, and parents the peace of mind they need,” said Alcatel’s Sam Skontos.
“It takes away the pressure of giving your child their first smartphone so young, and provides them with a device that’s easy and safe for kids to use,” he said.
Because the Alcatel Family Watch requires a 3G connection to work, Alcatel is teaming up with Vodafone in Australia as an exclusive to the carrier, which is making it available on 12, 24, or 36 month plans for at least $10 per month.
Out of the carrier exclusive plans, the Alcatel Movetime Family Watch will sell at Vodafone for $180, and is available now.
About the only thing missing in action is a camera, making it a less than ideal phone replacement for a teenager or pre-teen, but a possible phone for someone younger. If you have one of those in your life and you need to always have eyes on when you might not be able to, it might be worth checking Alcatel’s Family Watch out.