Taking the fun out of hide and seek

8 January 2013 by Steve Blum
, ,

At least it isn't Big Brother watching.

Parents don't particularly want young kids to have mobile phones. But they do want the convenience of reaching them at any time. And, apparently, they want to be able to track their whereabouts 24/7.

At least that's the idea behind the Vivo Play, a mobile phone and location tracker from Evado Filip that was on display at the Showstoppers press event at CES tonight. It looks like a wristwatch. Put it on a kid, and you can call anytime. Or you set location parameters and it lets you know whenever the kid strays out of bounds.

It can call out, too. But only to five numbers that you pre-program using a smart phone app. There's no keypad. It does have a panic button function. Hit it, and the phone dials all the numbers, one right after another, and records any calls that connect. Kind of like your own personal 911 service.

The unit tracks your child's location three different ways – GPS, WiFi and GSM triangulation – and reports back to you via the app. So it should work inside, say, a shopping mall.

The company plans to launch it the middle of this year, targeting kids between the ages of 5 and 12. No pricing for either the device or the monthly service has been set yet. The company intends to sell direct to consumers, although no deals have been reached with a mobile carrier. The GSM technology means it'll have to run on AT&T's and/or T-Mobile's network. Evado Filip doesn't want to become an MVNO, but a deal with one is possible.