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LG launches cellular wearable for kids

Orwellian fun for all the family

LG Electronics has launched a wearable device designed specifically to help parents track their young children. In order to do this the KizON has a 2G/3G cellular modem, which sets a key precedent in the evolution of the nascent wearables category.

The KizON is targeted at parents of kids under 10 who want to give junior a degree of autonomy but still be able to track their location and get in touch with them as and when they feel the need. It uses a function called One Step Direct Call that pretty much does what it says on the tin. This is also a two-way thing, allowing the parent to configure a hot-key on the device with their own number.

Furthermore, if the parent rings the kid and they don’t pick up within 10 seconds, the call connects anyway and parents can listen in on what the child is up to. Lastly the parent can also request regular location alerts to their smartphone, with Android 4.1 and up apparently being the only platform currently supported, so expect Apple to introduce similar functionality when it eventually launches a wearable, which could be as soon as this September.

“Children as well as the elderly are ideal customers for wearable technologies,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, CEO of LG Mobile. “Wearables allow us to stay connected without the worry of losing a device or the inconvenience of having to carry a large item in a pocket. At LG, we’re committed to exploring more ways to incorporate wearable devices into consumers lives in line with our vision to become a leader in wearables.”

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LG is positioning the KizON as a wristband, rather than a smartwatch, but it seems to reside somewhere between fitness bands and smartwatches as a category. So far wearables have all been ‘dumb’ accessories that have been heavily reliant on being paired with a smartphone for much of their functionality. The inclusion of a cellular modem is likely to reduce the battery life (36 hours) and increase the price (not stated), but does make it a standalone smart device.

The KizON is available in South Korea from today and will make its way to North America and Europe later this year. The wearables category has stalled a bit after a lot of initial buzz and this kind of defined-purpose device could be the sort of thing to reinvigorate the sector – even more, perhaps, than round smartwatches.


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