Smartwatches/Bands Technology Wearables

Colorful Miiya connects kids to physical activity

For a kids’ smartwatch to be appealing to its targeted customer base, it must accomplish a few things. On the one hand, it needs to feature all the usual technology that tracks a user’s activity, while at the same time making it fun to wear and use. The device also needs to be visually appealing enough for kids to want to wear it. Making it available in multiple colors helps.

Miiya, designed by a pair of Belgium-based brothers, has been created with those features in mind. It is being fielded in four colors: blue, orange, red and white, each featuring the same cute original Miiya character icon in a superhero cape. The smartwatch tracks the activity of its young users and they are given gold stars each day as rewards for physical activity.

A Miiya app for smartphones gives parents direct access to daily reports on their kids’ activities. The device uses Bluetooth LE to synchronize with the phones. It is already compatible with iOS (starting with the iPhone 4S) and will also be compatible with Android (expected in May) and then Windows Phone and Blackberry. The device’s “Dynamic Safety” feature enables parents to be warned if a child goes too far away from them and can indicate where the child has gone.

The Bluetooth signal range, however, is only about 200 feet. Interference can also be generated by a lot of objects, and that will reduce the signal range. The device is also waterproof and dust-resistant. Backers can buy a watch at the “super early bird” price of $75, a 40% discount off its normal price, for delivery in May. The device’s creators are looking to raise $50,000 on Indiegogo.

Miiya compares favorably to other kids’ smartwatches, including Jumpy. Miiya seems especially appealing at its $75 super early bird pricing, much less so at its regular price. Another barrier may very well be the Miiya name, which sounds uncomfortably similar to Mii, the name of the digital avatar in Nintendo’s videogame systems.

Kids/Babies Smartwatches/Bands

Jumpy jumps beyond the tracker with a kids’ smartwatch

The new generation of toys is far different than anything previous generations have experienced. Sporting LCD screens and wireless connectivity, these toys offer connected environments where children can interact not only with the objects around them but with other children as opposed to staring into a pixelated abyss all day.

Jumpy is another one of those toys, coming in the form of a Android-based, Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch for children. With it, children can stay connected with their parents through Wi-Fi and send messages, play games with the device as a controller for tablet games and connected toys, and stay on top of events like waking up for school with the friendly dog avatar. An open SDK makes Jumpy an constantly evolving platform so new ideas will transform it into something new. A set of Jumpy can be had with a $99 backing, due to be shipped March 2015. The campaign is looking for $100,000 to make that happen.

Parents can keep on top of their children’s whereabouts with the included activity tracker but since the device lacks GPS connectivity, it won’t do much good should the child wander off too far. The absence of multi-lingual support and battery life claims make this a bit suspect, too. If a company is introducing a platform like this, they have to make it worth it and truly push kids to do more, like the Hybrid Play. If not, it’ll be another toy thrown to the side pretty quickly.