It's hardly the first, but HereO might be the most stylish. HereO is a child-size watch that, when paired with the HereO app for Android, iOS, and the Web, shows kids' whereabouts on a map, so you always know where they are.
Designed for littles ones aged 3 to 12, HereO uses GPS to track your kids' exact location at any given time, then sends data to the app via a SIM card housed within the watch.
HereO is wrapping up its Indiegogo campaign now, so if you want one of the first watches, you can preorder it there for $130. When it goes on sale later this year, one watch will retail for $150. The companion app itself is free, but you'll pay $5 per month to get pinged. The subscription fee helps cover the cost of the services that send the GPS data from the watch to the app.
Once you connect the HereO watch to the app, you'll be able to start tracking your children on a map. You can even see them move on the map in real time if they are walking or riding in a car, since the GPS transmitter sends data frequently using the built-in SIM card. The SIM card works in more than 120 countries, so you can even use HereO when traveling.
In the app, you can set up Safe Zones, which can include your child's school, your home, relatives' and friends' homes, and after-school programs. When your kid enters that zone, the GPS unit stops pinging the network, and that break helps conserve the watch's battery. Once your little one moves outside that zone, the GPS resumes and you'll get a notification in the app.
HereO says its watch is the smallest of its kind, and the watch face does indeed have a compact design, measuring 1.3 by 1.2 by 0.5 inches (32 by 30 by 14mm) and weighing 1.7 ounces (50 grams). There's an adjustable band, which fits both large and tiny wrists. My only gripe about the design, from the short time I spent checking it out, is that the GPS unit sits on the band and looks clunky.
The screen is just a digital clock, as HereO's founders said they didn't want to include too many features on a watch designed for young kids. In keeping with its simple design, HereO built the watch to be especially rugged and water-resistant so it can handle playground bumps and scrapes as well as the occasional juice spill. The watch lasts for 72 hours on a single charge, and it will send an alert to the app when the battery is low.
Currently, there are four color options -- yellow, turquoise, red, and blue -- but the company is looking to branch out into new designs, including using popular brands and characters, such as Hello Kitty.
For any parent, the security of devices like these is paramount. No one wants the GPS data to fall into the wrong hands, and they don't want the device to get lost either. HereO encrypts the GPS that's sent to from the watch to the app, to reduce the risk that someone else could get a hold of it.
HereO also included a sensor that can tell if the watch is taken off, either by the child or someone else. Again, you'll get an alert when this happens. Finally, your child can send a panic alert at any time by tapping the watch face in a specific pattern, and that alert will ping the app.
The accompanying HereO app will be available for iOS and Android as well as for your desktop, when HereO goes on sale later this year. You can use the app even without a watch -- it'll keep tabs on your family members who have smartphones, using the GPS in their phone. That's similar to Apple's Find My Friends feature or sharing your location with friends and family through Google+.
You can connect your entire family, including kids, parents, and extended relatives, and get alerts when they leave their programmed Safe Zones.
Another handy feature is the ability to broadcast a message to your entire family, for instance to say you've reached your vacation destination or need help. Like the watch, you can send panic alerts in the app as well.
Wearable gadgets are here to stay, at least for now, so it's no surprise that kid-focused devices are gaining steam. Compared to competitorsand , HereO has a simple, no-frills design, which is good for young children, and it's small enough to fit even the tiniest of wrists.
While HereO is a great tool to keep tabs on your kids, I can't help but think there's still only a small market of parents who want this level of surveillance. That said, HereO looks like a promising system for keeping track of everyone in your family, especially your little ones.