Giving a young child his or her first phone comes with a long list of considerations. While handsets enable kids to stay in contact with their parents, the devices may contain too many features or risks that parents deem inappropriate for certain ages.
In an attempt to solve this issue, Sprint unveiled the WeGo today, a $120 starter phone for children ages 5 to 12. Built to be durable (it can withstand a 12-foot drop) and water resistant, the device has one center select button and a volume rocker that can be used to scroll up and down menu items. Up top is a tethered string that, when pulled, will set off a loud panic alarm and send a text to the parent.
The handset also lets parents control exactly who their kids can call and text, and what outgoing message can be sent from the phone. These 50 message templates include "I'm at home," "I'm at school, "I am with mom," and "I don't feel well."
And while GPS locators are common in almost every smartphone, the GPS built into WeGo can alert parents if their child made it to a predetermined location on time, or if they are moving faster than a preset speed (in the case of an abduction, for example).
Other features include pressing the center button two times to call 911, a silence mode for school hours, and a wake alert that will notify parents when their kids are up and about after sleeping. It also has a 900mAh battery (which yields a reported talk time of 5.25 hours), a 192MHz processor, and a 128x128-pixel resolution display.
In addition, Sprint customers can purchase a specific WeGo service plan at $9.99 a month, which includes 1,000 minutes of talk and 1,000 texts.