Firefly Mobile is debuting one of the first cellular phones designed for the tween (ages 8 through 12) market.
The new FlyPhone has an electro-luminescent keypad that automatically morphs into a game controller. The phone includes a portable media player (PMP), camera, mobile games and texting ability. It has a software filter for downloading age-appropriate media. It also comes with software to let kids create their own ringtones, wallpaper and slide shows to load onto the phone.
The FlyPhone allows pay-as-you-go payments and does not require a contract. The unit will be available in October at retailers including Toys "R" Us, Kmart, Barnes & Noble's Web site, Ritz/Wolf Camera, select Target stores and regional carriers at a suggested retail price of $124.
Firefly Mobile CEO Patrick Marry says the FlyPhone was created for tweens as "a tool for self expression, communication and personalization, while parents maintain management over the big picture."
The company also revamped its original FlyPhone for younger children, which was introduced in 2005. The new GlowPhone, aimed at kids ages 5 to 8, has a more compact design, color display, preloaded games, ringtones, wallpaper and improved menus, plus a speakerphone.
Like the original model, it has a limited key pad that includes "Mom" and "Dad" speed-dial buttons. The unit also ships in October at $49.99.