REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. — First, there were tablets designed for kids. Now there’s a smartphone designed for kids.
Startup MVNO Zact, which launched flexible- plan no-contract cellphone service on June 6, has begun offering a Disney-themed Zact phone preloaded with Disney apps and content. The ZTE Awe, available at an introductory $99, is an Android 4.1 device with 4-inch display and 5-megapixel camera. Regular price is $169.
A free four-month child starter plan included with the purchase offers 100 minutes of talk, 100 texts and 100MB of data.
The phone enables parents to remotely control what apps children can use, and who they can contact. Parents can either use a Zact-enabled phone to control the kid’s phone or download a free Zact Control app for their Apple or Android mobile device.
The Zact phone is preloaded with Disney apps, including Toy Story: Smash It! and Disney Infinity: Action!, and the phone also accesses content from Disney Video, Disney Music and Disney ¡Ajá!, which is Disney’s Spanish-language destination.
The phone is available only at Magic.Zact. com, but the start-up recently rolled out others phones and service through more than 400 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores nationwide. Best Buy is the MVNO’s first retailer.
Zact’s parent company is ItsOn, which four years ago launched Cloud-based technology for mobile service providers. The company is privately held and funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Ag Investors, SV Angel, Verizon, Vodafone and Best Buy. Zact offers talk, text and data plans that start as low as $3.49 per month.
Zact offers customizable no-contract service plans in which consumers choose their own mix of voice minutes, number of texts and amount of data, each of which is independently selectable. Consumers can adjust their plans on the fly directly from their device at any time.