Sprint has sat up and noticed that cell phones are becoming all about families these days. After Disney Mobile announced its own family-oriented service last week at CTIA, Sprint today said it will start offering its new Family Locator service on 17 of its handsets. While using the service, Mom or Dad will be able to pinpoint their tyke's location on maps viewable on a compatible mobile or a computer. The map will show nearby street addresses and the estimated accuracy of the range in yards. Parents can also use Family Locator to send their child a text message when they're located ("Get your butt home!"), and they can program the service to send alerts, confirming their kids have arrived at a location. On the other end, kids are notified with an SMS when their parents pinpoint their location.
A similar GSP locator service will be a hallmark offering of Disney Mobile when the carrier commences service in June. Disney Mobile will rent space from Sprint as an MVNO (similar to Virgin Mobile), but Sprint's announcement is a signal that it wants to break into the family market as well. Although the maps will work only on the 17 handsets specifically compatible with Family Locator, parents can track up to four phone numbers on 30 Sprint or Nextel mobiles that are GPS enabled. GPS locators are now required by law, and the technology is also used by emergency operators for 911 calls.
Of course, the service will cost you, but the price is fair, at $9.99 per month. Family Locator is available now, and you can sign up on Sprint's Web site.