There was a time when the only place a child could see a wrist-worn communication device in action was in the old Dick Tracy comic strips. The original device which debuted in 1946 had a small analog clock and a two-way radio, but by the 1980s our hero had been upgraded to a computerized model with a lie detector—no kidding.
Today, of course, smartwatches are everywhere tracking everything from blood pressure to heartbeats, and sometimes even the time, but one new smartwatch tries to encourage children to stay healthy by offering perks for keeping active.
The XGO2 smartwatch by Xplora Technologies, aimed at children from 4 to 10 years old, is part of an ecosystem which includes a mobile app and the GoPlay games and activities platform, which rewards children with “Xplora coins” based on the number of steps they take. The coins can be redeemed for access to online games and activities, some of which feature well-known cartoon characters like Tom and Jerry.
The XGO2 can make phone calls and exchange texts, but only with pre-approved contacts. It has a 1.4-inch color display, a built-in screen protector and a battery which lasts 72 hours, according to the company. A small camera allows children to take photos and videos but, here again, they can only share them with the pre-approved contacts.
Built-in GPS hardware lets parents track the location of their children on Google Maps and set boundaries. If the child strays outside of the set boundaries, parents get an immediate alert. A School Mode setting disables notifications during set hours, but GPS features stay on and calls can still be made to the watch, but without rings or vibrations.
The watch comes in four colors and carries an IP67 rating, which means it can stay under a meter (3.2 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. The XGO2 is available from the Xplora website for $100 with an $11.99 per month pay-as-you-go service option, for $9.99 per month with a one-year contract or for $7.99 per month with a two-year plan.
My tech tips appear regularly in Sree's Sunday Note.
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