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Startup Launching Handheld Android Game Player

San Diego – Startup PlayMG is launching an Android-based mobile game player targeted to young people who aren’t old enough to own a smartphones or whose parents won’t buy one for them because of the cost of data plans.

Dubbed a “pocketable Wi-Fi app-gaming system” by its creators, the MG will retail for a suggested $169 at and when it becomes available on Nov. 5. The product is available for preorders on the sites at $149 through Nov. 4. The company said it is also “in discussions about opportunistic placement with two Big Box retailers” for the holidays.

The device uses Wi-Fi to download games and apps from the Google Play store, plays back stored audio and video, and features 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera/camcorder.

Though Android-based portable media players (PMPs) from Sony, Samsung and Philips offer the same capabilities, PlayMG is positioning its device as a game player for kids because of built-in parental controls. The controls include a “Digital Wallet” capability that lets parents set spending levels on game downloads via reloadable SpendSmart prepaid MasterCard for teens. The MG’s “Remote Trust” notification capability lets parents receive email updates on MG activity or remotely check on the MG device itself.

The device’s cosmetics were designed to “be cool enough for young people to actually want to give back their parents’ smartphones,” said founding partner T. Scott Edwards. “They want something specifically designed for their generation that fits in their pocket, doesn’t look at all childish, has expandable memory and gives them the most financial independence and play possible,” he said. An estimated 52 million 5-18 year-olds in the U.S. don’t own smartphones, he added in citing Pew and Kaiser Family Foundation research.

Features include Android 4.0’s Face Unlock security feature, embedded 4GB memory, an included 8GB SD card, a $10 prepaid MasterCard, and such preloaded games as EA Mobile’s Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and ‘NBA JAM. Other preloaded games include Com2uS’s Slice It, Swing Shot, Homerun Battle2, Tiny Farm, Tower Defense, 9 Innings Baseball, Super Action Hero and Derby Days.