Would you give your five-year-old a smartphone? Perhaps not -- but you might consider keeping tabs on them with this handy watch.
Unlike an Apple Watch or Android Wear watches, the $120 Alcatel CareTime (roughly £80 or AU$165, converted) doesn't send notifications from a phone in your pocket to a watch on your wrist. Instead, you strap this colorful plastic watch on your kid, and use your phone to keep track of them. The watch has its own SIM card and GPS trackers inside, so it can send your kid's coordinates over the internet and let you see their position on Google Maps.
You should even be able to set a geofence -- an imaginary boundary on the map -- and get alerts sent to your smartphone if they leave that area. And because the watch has a cellular radio inside, plus a microphone and speaker, your kid can call for help too. Press a single button on the watch, and it should immediately phone home or dial one of five phone numbers that you can pre-approve.
I say "should," because we didn't actually get to try a working CareTime at Alcatel's product-filled hotel suite at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, only a mockup. (Admittedly, it was a mockup with a comfy silicone rubber band and an Apple Watch-style reverse clasp.) But I'm not too worried about it being a dud. The CareTime is just the latest in a new wave of colorful, inexpensive smartwatches with the same basic idea.
A better question: Will you be willing to pay a cellular carrier like AT&T an additional fee every month (typically $10) to add a kid-tracking watch to your plan?
The CareTime will go on sale this April in Europe and Latin America, and should arrive in the US by the end of 2016.
Some other specs and features:
- 40 x 40 x 15.8 mm body
- 0.95'' black and white OLED display, 96 pixels by 64 pixels
- Nucleus operating system
- 380mAh battery, up to 4 days of standby
- Companion app is compatible with phones running Android 4.3 and above, iOS 7 and above
- IP65 dust and water resistance (dustproof; can be sprayed by water)
- GSM 900/1800MHz (2G) for Europe, US version will operate on 3G and/or LTE
- 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
- Choice of two bright color schemes
- Two-way calls with microphone and speaker
- Step tracking
- Charges with a small magnetic dock