Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Will Kids want a VTech KidiZoom SmartWatch? (And what about parents?)

VTech have announced the VTech KidiZoom SmartWatch, a wrist-wearable device for young children.

The device is due to be released later in 2014 in time for Christmas. It has a 1.4 inch color touchscreen and includes a 0.3 MP camera.  (It's just a prototype at this point so this could change before release.

This is a rather different concept to other wrist-based devices kids (or adults.) There has been a focus on reduced functionality phones for kids like the Filip that act as trackers and emergency communication devices. Adult smart watches on the other hand tend to be remotes for mobile phones or fitness gadgets.

This VTech KidiZoom seems to be an updated take on a digital watch with games built in. A small portable device that kids can use for entertainment. Kids will be able to play mini games on the watch. It an also be used as a digital camera (photos and videos can be uploaded to a PC.)

I can certainly see the value in a wearable camera for children. Kids often want to take a digital camera out and about but they are prone to putting it down when they spot an interesting pine-cone and a fascinating twig and need their hands free to hold both. Or they remember to put the camera in their bag and then don't have it to hand when they want it. The low-res 0.3MP camera isn't ideal though.

The KidiZoom SmartWatch has a motion sensor which could possibly lead to an app that tracks and encourages physical activity. Convergence of functionality is always welcome - a child certainly doesn't want to be wearing lots of gadgets.

And of course it will function as a watch with an alarm clock and timer. That's actually pretty useful. A lot of regular kids watches are limited in functionality or fiddly to use. I hope you'll be able to easily set alarms with a countdown so that you can tell kids they need to tidy up for 10 minutes or that they need to start getting ready to leave the house at 4pm. I'd love to see an app that helps kids learn to tell the time (it's a surprisingly difficult skill to learn.)

There's no mention of the device acting as a music player which would be appealing (though VTech have another device for that.)

Gizmodo have asked Do Kids Really Need a Smartwatch? Well it's not a case of need is it? It's about whether they would see it as exciting enough to put on their Christmas lists and whether parents think they'll make good use of it. The device looks quite chunky, it will need to be comfortable for children to wear. And the games or apps will need to be compelling.

Further source: DailyMail 

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