Just in time for frenzied family trips to the mall — i.e. the holiday season — wearable tech maker Filip Technologies is preparing to take its first product to market, a GPS and mobile-enabled watch that keeps children and their parents in communication. After three years in product development, AT&T has partnered with Filip Technologies as the device’s network provider, distributor, and billing service.
Exact pricing and service plans will be announced in the coming weeks, Filip Technologies CEO Jonathan Peachey said. Although the final retail price on the FiLIP watch has not been set, it will not exceed $200. The monthly voice and data plan will be less than that, Peachey added, the aim being to not burden the average family’s monthly mobile budget.
The colorful two-button watch, worn by the child and hooked up to an app on a parent’s phone, can make and receive calls to the parent. It also uses a combination of GPS, cell tower location, and WiFi triangulation to act as a locator, and there’s an emergency button that begins ambient sound recording and connects the child with emergency services. And although smartwatches are so hot right now, it’s wearable primarily because kids are prone to losing things not attached to their bodies.
The FiLIP watch is aimed at children 11 and younger, given that many parents don’t want to buy their kids a cell phone until they’re a bit older. Although there are GPS devices and phones with limited calling capabilities targeted at children on the market, it’s a diversity of features that Filip Technologies is hoping will set its product apart.
“You need a combination of location and voice,” Peachey said. “I can’t point to a product that does the features we do in a wearable product.”
This summer has marked a few milestones in the development of the product. FiLIP passed its FCC certification in late July, making it the first wearable mobile device with full two-way voice capability to do so. Earlier that month, Peachey joined the Filip team from Virgin Group, where he was the CEO of Virgin Management USA and later an advisor to Sir Richard Branson.
It took about two years of engineering effort to get the product to a place where it could enter FCC testing, Peachey said. During that time the engineering team built a large scale prototype and then spent nine months shrinking it down to the size it is today.
An official drop date isn’t set yet, but the device will land in stores in the next few months.