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A device for keeping families together

gadgets Updated: Jan 10, 2013 13:06 IST
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The VIVOplay, on display at CES, combines the best features of a GPS and a phone, can be worn as a wristwatch and is aimed at parents who worry about where their children are and whether they're in trouble but are equally concerned about giving their pre-teen offspring a mobile phone.

Its makers claim that it is the world's smallest consumer communications and location device and that it is designed specifically to help parents keep in touch with their children and ensure their safety. It can be programmed with up to five different phone numbers that a child can call by pressing a single button, and it can also be configured, via a smartphone app, to receive incoming calls and text messages from a list of parentally-approved contacts.

Combining GPS, WiFi and GSM technologies, the VIVOplay gives parents the precise location of their child at any one time and the device is small enough that it can be worn as a wristwatch. Available in a range of colors, it is also water-resistant and, although some parents may find the idea of essentially tagging their children more than a little uncomfortable, the device does offer a valid alternative to giving a child, particularly one younger than 12, their own mobile phone, a decision that comes with its own potential concerns such as cyber bullying, unsolicited approaches or, more commonly, huge monthly bills.

VIVOplay's maker Evado Filip is yet to announce an official launch date or price for the device but will start taking orders in summer 2013.