By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Dallas — AT&T will provide billing and distribution services for Filip Technologies’ combination cellphone watch and GPS locator for kids.
AT&T will also be the exclusive wireless provider of the device made by the London-based startup.
Details on pricing and service plans will be revealed in the coming months, but the device will be available in time for the holidays through Filip’s website and ATT.com. Distribution will expand early next year to select AT&T-owned stores, a spokesperson said.
“Filip focuses only on the features that parents want — location, voice calling and direct messaging to their child,” the company said.
Filip doubles as a watch and lets kids make and receive GSM voice calls to and from five numbers approved by parents. It uses assisted GPS, cell tower location and Wi-Fi hot spot triangulation to let parents locate the wearer via an Android or Apple smartphone running a Filip app. An emergency button triggers an automatic location beacon and dials emergency services if family members cannot be reached. The device also lets parents set Safe Zones, triggering a notification if the child enters or leaves a designated zone.
The device is targeted to parents who don’t want to buy a smartphone for their kids under age 13, and those parents account for 70 percent of all parents, Filip said in citing a Harris Interactive survey that it commissioned.
“Filip addresses this concern by offering only the features that parents want — location, voice calling and direct messaging to their child and eschews all extraneous features parents don't want and kids don't need,” the company said.
Filip was founded by Sten Kirkbak after he lost track of his 3-year-old child, Filip, for a half hour at a shopping mall. The company’s operates a U.S. office in New York City and is manufacturing the device in Lynchburg, Va.
“Filip Technologies is taking wearable device innovation in a new direction — going beyond the smart watch to solve a real problem for parents and make their lives easier,” said Chris Penrose, emerging devices senior VP at AT&T Mobility.
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