Keeping tabs on kids isn’t easy, and neither is checking in on the more senior relatives in the immediate family. Our worries about both tend to overlap: How could you get in touch if something were to happen to them, for one; and if they were to become confused and lost, how would you find them?
Haier, a China-based maker of electronics from microwave ovens to computers, posits that its new smartwatch, the SOS Connected Watch, is a promising solution. Designed quite literally with the young and old in mind, it aims to provide peace of mind by helping to maintain a near-continuous connection to loved ones.
In terms of specifications, SOS Connected Watch really doesn’t sound all that different from your typical wearable. It’s got a 0.96-inch OLED waterproof screen (up to 30 meters), a microphone, a speaker, GPS, and a two-day battery life. But it’s also got hardware that most other smartwatches don’t: a dedicated, red “SOS” button that, when pressed, blasts out a text message alert to up to three phone numbers.
The watch’s software, too, is tailored to suit the needs of relatives who want to keep track of their kids and elderly family members. The companion Via app records days’ worth of the locations and lets you trace the SOS wearer’s path over time (think Google Maps’ Location History). You can define a “geographical safe zone” for said wearer, too, and receive an alert when the boundaries of the area are crossed. The watch’s built-in speaker and microphone let you, in addition to taking calls, listen remotely (Haier says the feature’s ideal for monitoring a child’s surroundings, or helping in cases where a phone’s unreachable).
Haier hasn’t announced availability or pricing for the Connected Smartwatch — we’re expecting those details at CES — but said that the watch will come in two styles, one aimed at kids and the other at seniors. The kid’s line will feature rubber adjustable watchbands and come in black, pink, and green, while the adult models trade the rubber wristbands for faux black and red leather bands.
Haier’s SOS Connected Smartwatch certainly isn’t the first wearable with a focus on safety. The Oxking PG88 similarly features phone functions, activity tracking, GPS, and a programmable SOS button, as does the enduring TBS3202. But most have been plagued with battery life issues, an obvious dealbreaker for devices meant to be relied upon in the event of an emergency. If Haier can execute on its promises and compete on price, the Connected Smartwatch may very well be a contender for one of the best kid and senior smartwatches around.