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Children's Smart Watch...

AerospacemanAerospaceman United StatesPosts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

Ok, this is the ZTE Consumer Lab, and we need your help.  This is a different idea and not meant for all of you, but we want everyone to participate.  If there were a smart watch for your child that you could have initial input on, what features or options would you want?  This is a different idea than you might be used to, but your feedback could be a game changer for a future device.  For instance:  Would you want two way communications, Locate my Child, an emergency button where your child could reach you immediately by voice or alert?  Please give any and all opinions.  As we always say, there is no right or wrong answers here.  All suggestions or ideas or important to us(good or bad)!!


  • hiker75hiker75 FloridaPosts: 108

    Wow.. As being a very overprotective parent myself, I would like all the bells and whistles.  I would definitely love to have an instant walkie-talkie type feature for them to push a button and it instantly contact me.  Also an integrated GPS tracker, especially if they push the walkie-talkie button, for it to send me a location immediately.  My thoughts being that if they pushed the instant talk button, it would be for emergencies.. For non-emergencies, they can call or text as normal.

  • bje2525bje2525 Louisiana - USAPosts: 35 ✭✭✭✭

    Like to start off by saying that I don't have children of my own, but have 17 nieces and nephews. Growing up I suffered and still do from epilepsy and had many seizures while at school or away from home and it scared my mom. Today my sister deals with a child who suffers from the same that I did and by having a way for not just him but from others having a way to get in touch via two way conversation would help. Also having built in biometric sensors for basic reading like heart rate, blood o2, temperatur reading, and other vitals that can detect when a siezu is about to happen or is happening to notify her would come in handy. At night I sleep with a monitor that detects vitals and sleep patterns that wakes me or my partner if I am about to have a seizure or having one and by having these same features in a watch would be great. Having gps so when he is out and about and happens to have a seizure she can periodically check in on his location and use a two way talk to see how he is doing. Also having a way for others to press an emergency button to notify the parent and emergency personnel would be a plus. I know that due to some restrictions that many sensors are hard to adapt in a device let alone one that will be with a reasonable price, but when it comes to health and safety of a love one no price is to high.

  • DoppelgangerDDoppelgangerD Master Of Ceremonies United StatesPosts: 1,847 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hmm, so many directions and ideas to go with.
    I'm going to assume that by "child", we are likely referring to pre-teen children,
    and as such most of them will not be carrying mobile phones.
    I know many do these days, but that doesn't mean they should.
    I'd have to really put more thought into it when I have more time, but a few things for sure...

    Emergency contact access.
    To send emergency ping/notification to any number of sources, like Mom/Dad/Grandparent/Guardian/etc...
    I also wonder if it's possible to add add police/fire contact services as well,
    but I'm sure this would depend on the area where the watch is located and if such services are offered.
    This is all assuming that the watch won't contain a sim card, and I don't think it should.

    Easy GPS tracking where a parent can have an app on their phone and within seconds know

    exactly where the child is at any time.

    Emphasis needs to be placed on ease of use. Sort of like Easy-Home for a smartphone.

    Of course it needs to have time, date, weather, some fitness features, maybe a couple games
    but not a "gaming watch". It needs to have doze type features so battery can last all day without heavy use.

    Multiple styles and colors for both boys and girls.

    Easy to get on and off wristbands that aren't too complicated, are comfortable, yet also durable.
    and of course the watch itself must be extremely durable, otherwise it will get destroyed quickly.

    Another feature that relates to notifications/pinging/etc...

    The watch can have the ability to connect to wifi, and if you really want to push it to the high end,
    offer a model where actual phone calls can be made over wifi, so you'd need sound and mic capabilities for that too.

    Obviously there is enough room for a basic model and a higher end model.
    It just all depends on how many features you want to pack in there.

  • razor512razor512 United StatesPosts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I would like it to offer practical functions, and not look like a fisher price toy. (from various videos on sites like cnet, whenever they review a GPS tracking watch for kids, or GPS tracking sneakers, they always look like something something right out of a silly cartoon, and just seems embarrassing to have in the real world.

    I feel the watch should have a more minimalist approach (standard watch functions, with a few safety extras). An example would be like those watched that some people who are doing mountain climbing might use, where you have standard watch functions, 10+ year battery life, and a secondary battery that powers a small radio that can broadcast a distress signal on an emergency band where rescue workers can find your location.

    This all allows for a device that is functional, and not cause a kid to play with it in class, or use a standard smart watch to load images or a PDF containing notes so that they can cheat on tests.

    Overall, if the focus is on small children, then the battery life needs to be on the order of many months, as they will not be heavily focused on keeping it charged.

    On the other hand, if it is made with more traditional smart watch functions that may be fun for them, then it will become a distraction, and likely won't do its job anyway because if they are playing with it, then the battery will die very quickly.

    I have had cases where when student teaching at the 1st grade level, some students will get distracted by their smartphone, and start playing with it. I really wish some parents would give their 1st grader an old fashion flip phone instead of a smart phone, and given the capabilities of some smart watches, I feel the result will be the same.

  • ddrakeddrake Alpharetta, GAPosts: 318 ✭✭✭

    I only have one child who is 9 months old, so I'm a little out of touch for the requested feature... but I do have nieces / nephews.  This is tricky for me because I believe technology is amazing and can enhance many aspects of our life; however, I also believe that always being connected is such a problem in the younger generation that it has become a distraction for day-to-day interaction. 

    In a watch, I would keep it as minimalistic as possible.  I wouldn't want it to be a distraction (especially if they are the age where too young for a cell phone).  A GPS locator would be a great feature.  I could see some notificaiton features that would go to the parents (low battery life, etc).  I could go either way on some health data... If I had a child that had some potential health issues, I may want to know about some vitals, temperature, etc but that may be an option for multiple price points.

    If the thought is to have a smart watch when they have no cell phone, then some form of voice notes / walkie talkie would be cool.  But for me, I am a long ways away from worrying about smart-watches and phones for my children and would love to put it off for as long as possible

  • AerospacemanAerospaceman United StatesPosts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you everyone on your feedback so far!!  Please keep it coming!!

  • eminayeminay United StatesPosts: 29 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Most important factors are GPS tracking with 2G maybe 3G data service to report back. This goes into the second crucial factor: battery life.

    To keep the battery life respectable (2-3 days at the minimum), use more of a passive color display rather than LCD or OLED, and really keep the kid's functionality to a minimum. Show time, some nifty animations, so simple games that my watch used to have when I was a kid, so that they actually want to wear it.

    Basically GPS with cellular data and long battery life are the the most important as a parent. Start adding other things in without sacrificing battery life like one or two-way communication, some sort of an emergency mode that prolongs the battery life and prevents shutting down. It should be easy to charge, so no flimsy USB ports or corroding contact pins.

    Let's try this again with several lists:


    - GPS with reliable cellular data or other robust wireless transmission capabilities (mesh network if there are enough?)

    - long battery life of at least 2-3 days. Up to 1 or 2 weeks on power saver mode.


    - lower power display with light

    - contactless charging

    - embedded SIM

    - childproofing (waterproof, dust proof, smashproof)

    - don't look like a cheap toy, have some nice design like other smartwatches all the kids want

    IT'D BE NICE (but don't sacrifice battery)

    - one or two way calling with speaker

    - not too bulky


    - WIFI as it's a power drain, unless there's a smarter wifi for emergency use when no cellular

    - high resolution AMOLED display that is both a power drain and impossible to see in sunlight

    - high power CPU and graphic intense games that drain power

    Just know this should be a device that's a parent and safety device first, and then a child's toy a distant second. It should also be for kids up to 10 or 12, but as young as 2. Maybe add some GPS enabled games and other fun apps (Tamagotchi style thing or Digimon where you can raise and challenge others). Basically, try to also make it social and cool so kids aren't embarrassed to have one, and aren't inclined to take it off because of that.

    So yes, just make it perfect.

  • catman25catman25 Auburn nyPosts: 41

    I love my children but also can I afford it?  These things come to mind.  I would like perhaps 2 way talking or atleast the ability to send and recieve messages.  GPS would be nice to see if they are where they are sposed to be.  I'm really curious what others will state and amazed by the thoughts already. 

  • AerospacemanAerospaceman United StatesPosts: 1,512 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Let's keep it coming.  I really am amazed by these thought out responses in this thread and also in this other Consumer Lab thread:

    This is exciting!!  Much more to come!!

    Thank you for all your responses!!

  • razor512razor512 United StatesPosts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I wonder if a sim card can be skipped altogether, since 911 services are offered at no cost (basically a cell radio just for a panic button), and all other communication can come from a connected smartphone.

    I also wonder, how much power can be saved if a smart watch was made with a custom SOC (modern technology and power saving techniques, applied to a low transistor count SOC that is just powerful enough to essentially make the smart watch into pretty much a wireless display (with at most having it become a basic traditional watch when no phone is connected), and a few controls, thus allowing the smartphone to treat it as a second display, where it does all of the heavy lifting. Then give the smart watch a very low power color e-ink display. Then with a rather bare minimum implementation of the internals, use all of the space for a larger battery (e.g., 500-600mAh), and see if we can go a few days to a few weeks on a single charge.

  • Definitely track location. I would like activity tracking so I know how active he is and not just playing video games all day! Calendar I could set up and sync it with that would send him reminders. Silent alerts so he could get alerts while at school without disturbing class. Having it be able to send some simple texts would be nice! I am absolutely in love with the idea. I have a fitbit charge on him now but being able to have some extra features with a better screen would be nice. Waterproof is a must have for my kid as well, he tends to not think before he washes. Something I could put a nice screen protector on as whatever screen you use will definitely get scratched if I can't.

  • I find the animations over rated. Any electronics he has had since he was born (we are a tech family) the animations have seemed to be more frustrating than "fun". My son (9) Loves his Fitbit charge and all that does is show him time, and his stats. Having a bigger but still basic display to do other stuff like a calendar and text communication is something I would want but he has enough on the go electronics that having it do any games would be a waste and just add to the price as well as lower battery life because they would most likely be draining the battery playing. 

  • maulgandhimaulgandhi United StatesPosts: 519 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This watch idea reminds me of a time when i was shopping clothes during holiday season last year. I came across little kid asking her dad and qoute, "daddy daddy, I want apple watch." I started laughing and could not stop. My question is to y'all is, are the kids of this generation are overly dependent on the technology? Anywho, I like the idea of kids edition of smartwatch, which are affordable and easy to use.

    1. Allow parents to keep track of their children. (At any time parents can open the companion app for Android devices and view their child’s location using built-in GPS/WiFi).

    2. Parents can even set location reminders through the Android app, which automatically pulls the watch to show them of their child’s whereabouts throughout the day.

    3. Allow kids to dial/call pre-configured numbers.

    Basically, a watch that allow parents/guardians to monitor their kids location and allows to call pre-config numbers

  • I know my son is very involved in all his tech. I have tried to vow not to get him a cell phone but have found myself low-jacking him with prepaids when we travel. I hated the simplicity of the Firefly phone we had for him but giving him an all out phone has just too much. The watch does not have to let him reply to me in sentences. If I text him "on my way" All I need to know is a bounce back when he reads it letting me know he got it. Maybe some pre-written texts that you can set using an app that connects via blue tooth on my phone letting him "text" me things like "practice over come get me" or "home, where are you?". He has texting on his Nabi that connects to my phone through a special app and when he has use of a whole keyboard to torment me I get some strange texts... Too much temptation for your kids to start spam texting the bejeepers out of you. I want something that he know is practical not a toy.

  • I'm is torn on this subject. I could see where parents would want kids to be able to call them out text them out even call 911 for an emergency, have games and apps, and maybe even a build in mp3 player, but for my child all of this would be just another toy to get in trouble at school with. Honestly, would only want my sin to be able to communicate with me during emergencies and fit me to be able to track his GPS. I don't trust my son's ability to determine  what constitutes as an emergency serious enough to fail 991. I also do not want him to have access to more restorations during school/church ect. I think the biggest ideas here is to have a simple easy to use device that is highly customizable to parents. I would like to be able to be lock use to any functions that I find inappropriate or distracting o my child.

  • ironbaybeedollironbaybeedoll United StatesPosts: 4,630 mod

    I think, I need to know what age we are wanting to gear this towards. Under the age of 10, I would want it very simplistic, and mostly geared towards my child's safety. A tracking device, 911, perhaps 2way radio directly to my phone only. I would not gear my child with a device that is going to be of use to someone else, and make them a target to be robbed. I also do not want a major distraction, constantly on their arm. At this age there is so much more out there during a day for a child to be doing, leave the computers at home.

    Pre-teens, I can see adding maybe texting and a few features to the already mentioned features. I would still want it to be a "dumb watch"  No connections, or updates from social media. At this age we are teaching them about independence, so I think making the alarm clock, and calendar especially appealing to this age group would be awesome, and a great way to get them using these features early on.

    I am not against children using technology, my daughters both were brought up in a home constantly around computers. Both of them were able to name all, and install most internal components of desktops by the age of 7 or 8 lol. However, they were not allowed an email address of their own until 12, and facebook until 13. Both were heavily monitored, and looking back I wish I had kept them offline a little longer. I just strongly believe that there needs to be a happy medium. I personally would not purchase a smart watch for my child.

  • Way for my son to access google docs he works from school and home  to work on his projects

  • mossy375mossy375 ShanghaiPosts: 73

    The features that I would want from this device have mostly been mentioned already, but here's my opinion.

    The essential features:

    - GPS

    - Emergency location pinging

    - Long battery life

    - Durability and fashionable

    Security is the main thing that parents would be looking for when buying the watch, so the tracking features are vital. However, none of this matters if the device has no power or is easily broken, so it would need to be long lasting. In addition, kids will just take the watch off if they think it is lame. It needs to be something they are proud to wear and show off.

    Some additional nice features would be:

    - "Please call me" messages if the child doesn't have any money on their phone to make a call themselves.

    - Simple games; make the phone nice to use

    - Swappable straps; make the watch customizable for the kids can express their style.

  • mossy375mossy375 ShanghaiPosts: 73

    I agree with pretty much all of your points and priorities!

  • rikkkurdrikkkurd United statesPosts: 318 ✭✭

    I would like lora support and gps to have an updated location every 15 minutes + some games and whistles for him of course.

    + It should be very durable

  • fzrrichfzrrich United StatesPosts: 4,257 mod

    Having four young children I would say first and foremost TRACKING! I would like to be able to track their position easily and even contact them via text or an alert of some sort. One touch emergency contact communication call/text.  A lot alert button would be convenient in case they are put in a dangerous situation to alert people  around them that they need assistance. The device would also have to be stylish, water resistant, have some way to change the theme, or wallpaper. Two way walkie talkie between devices would be great as well. Lots of options her but I would say tracking, ease of communication, and fun to wear are important aspects the device should have.

  • 2pointdooj2pointdooj Morocco, OujdaPosts: 590 ✭✭✭✭

    A UI that is clear with popping colors, like blue and green, with some animations. If I find an idea I will tell you.

This discussion has been closed.