Tel Aviv-based KIDO’Z, which got its start back in 2009 as a kid-friendly media browser for desktop computers is finally making the jump to mobile. The company is today officially announcing an Android version of its software that enables parents to lock down their smartphones and tablets, only allowing kids access to approved mobile applications and websites. The app also provides kids with a directory of pre-approved childsafe apps to choose from when they’re in search of new content.
When KIDO’Z first launched, it offered an Adobe AIR-powered desktop browser that let kids play games, watch videos and visit approved websites. Today’s kids are no longer clamoring for PC time, however – they want to play with mom and dad’s phones and tablets. Because the Android operating system allows mobile applications to more tightly integrate, access and control core OS features, it makes sense for KIDO’Z to choose Android as its initial foray into mobile.
Other apps offer similar features to KIDO’Z, in terms of parental controls and kid app directories, including Famigo, which raised $1 million for its efforts in March 2012, recent Y Combinator participant Kytephone, and Play Safe, created by a former Kytephone team member, to name just a few that we’ve covered in recent months.
But one thing that makes KIDO’Z more unique in this space is that it doesn’t just do app whitelisting and blocking, it also offers a pre-approved selection of content and an ad-blocker tool. While that latter feature might not be great news for content creators, it can be good news for parents who don’t want their child exposed to ads for “Death Zombie Battle Gore IV” while enjoying “Happy Bunny Sunshine”…or whatever. (I’m sure most content creators target better than that, but you can never be too careful.)
In addition to the kid-friendly app store, KIDO’Z also provides “KIDO’Z TV” which features fun and educational videos organized into channels, a kid-safe web browser, a selection of kid-safe e-books, offline support, and controls for parents that let them set time limits and other screen time rules. All the content which is included with the app is first vetted by the team, also parents themselves, before being added.
Unlike the desktop version, which is sold on a subscription basis and now has nearly one million users, the Android app is a free download here on Google Play, where it’s available in 17 languages.
However, although the app itself is free, founder Gai Havkin tells me that the company plans to monetize through the virtual currency which parents buy for their kids. This money will allow kids buy real, pre-approved apps in the KIDO’Z App Store, and company will then split the revenue earned with the app publishers. Currently, the mobile store only contains free apps, but Havkin says they’re now building up the premium library, and will launch it later on this year alongside the eWallet/virtual money feature. iOS support is also on the roadmap, but he says it’s too early to share details about that.
KIDO’Z, a team of eight, is funded by private angels and its subscription revenue, but is now in the process of raising a new round of funding.