Garmin is the first mainstream brand to release an LTE smartwatch for kids. The device comes with fitness, communication and safety functions.
There is a plethora of smartwatches for kids out there. However all of these come from relatively unknown companies. Apple, Fitbit and a few other mainstream brands are all rumoured to be looking to enter this lucrative space. Garmin is the first one to do so.
The popular maker of sports watches, bike computers and other connected sports gear has announced Bounce. This is a smartwatch for little ones. Garmin has a few other devices for kids but these are all fitness bands in the Vivofit Jr series. Bounce is something much more sophisticated.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
It’s an unexpected announcement. Typically before a Garmin release, there are a few leaks. But there was no such occurance this time around. Also, no regulatory filings were spotted ahead of the official unveil.
Garmin Bounce – a fully fledged LTE smartwatch for kids
Bounce takes on a square shape and it comes with a 1.3 inch LCD packing a 240 x 240 pixel resolution. There are three colour options to choose from: Green Burst, Black Camo and Lilac Floral. The physical size of the device comes in at 42.0 mm x 42.4 mm x 12.6 mm.
This is a robust yet lightweight timepiece. It only comes in at 37 grams. Water-resistance is an excellent 5 ATM. This means the kids can wear the watch worry-free 24 hours a day.
Sensors inside the thing include an accelerometer, along with GPS/GALILEO. This means there’s no heart-rate tracking tech inside.
Comprehensive connectivity includes text and voice messaging
More interestingly, the device comes with Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity. The last of these is only available with a subscription. This will set you back $9.99 per month or $99.99 for a full year. The connectivity does not require a phone number as it is directly managed by Garmin servers.
You can’t conduct live phone conversations but you still get plenty. This includes the ability to stay in touch with your child by two-way texting and voice messaging. You can also track the Bounce watch via the Garmin Jr. app on your smartphone. Two Bounce watches can communicate between each other – as long as the proper permissions have been set.
The connectivity features do not end there. Parents can also set defined geographical areas. They will then be notified when their kid leaves the set boundaries. Children can also use the “check in” feature to share their current location.
Another safety function is called Assistance. When your child activates this feature, it will send a notification and LiveTrack location to pre-approved contacts. Something akin to an alarm button.
No subscription required for other features
The rest of the functionality is available without a subscription. This includes a few smart features such as timer, alarm clock, stopwatch, weather and Find my Watch.
Health and fitness tracking consists of step counting, sleep monitoring and activity tracking (for running, cycling and swimming). Like the Vivofit Jr. range there are also some kids specific health features such as the 60 minute daily activity goal.
To keep the little ones busy you can assign chores through the smartphone app and these can be checked off on the watch itself. This comes with the ability to gift virtual coins. It will then be down to you to convert this into real-world awards.
Beyond that the watch has alerts, games and a few more kid-friendly features. Your little one will also get access to the Toe-to-toe challenges app.
All in all this sounds like a pretty comprehensive offering. The only caveat is that battery life is only 2 days between charges. Perhaps that was to be expected taking into account this is something with a colour display and LTE connectivity.
Bounce sounds like a good option for parents who don’t want to purchase a smartphone for their kids just yet. Strangely enough, we are still waiting for the first Garmin sports watch with proper LTE connectivity. Who knew something close to that would make its debut on a Garmin timepiece for kids!
Garmin Bounce is available now on the company’s website. It costs $149.99. As mentioned, if you want the connectivity features you’ll need to opt for the monthly or annual subscription.
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