Most companies that make kids’ headphones have focused on making these devices durable, affordable, and safe for exposure to volume levels. But Onanoff is taking a new approach with its $100 StoryPhones, by letting kids listen to their favorite audiobooks simply by swapping out a magnetic disc on the outside of the earcup. The StoryPhones will debut at CES 2022 and you’ll be able to buy them from onanoff.com and several retailers in January.
The StoryPhones are just like other wireless headphones for kids — they support both Bluetooth and wired connections — and when in wireless mode, they get a claimed 20 hours of battery life. But the disc-based story system is a clever and unique twist. To access the stories, the headphones must be initially set up via an adult’s phone using Bluetooth. After that, the StoryPhones can access your home Wi-Fi network on their own.
The first time a child attaches a story disc (known as a StoryShield), the headphones connect to Wi-Fi, download the relevant story, save it to their onboard memory, and then disconnect from Wi-Fi. With 16GB of memory, the headphones can store about 100 stories and once a story has been loaded, a child can access it at any time just by putting the story’s disc on the earcup, no Bluetooth or internet connection needed.
For the launch of the StoryPhones, Onanoff has partnered with Disney to create the initial run of downloadable content. Each StoryPhones comes with one Disney StoryShield, but additional StoryShields can be purchased for $8-$15. And we’re not just talking classic Disney fairytales — modern favorites like Frozen, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc., are available too.
Stories won’t be limited to Disney, and in fact, they won’t be limited to professional audiobooks. Friends and family will be able to download the StoryPhones app and record their own voices reading stories. These recordings are then uploaded to the cloud and the child gets a special “PlayShield” mailed to them so that they can listen to the personalized recordings whenever they like. PlayShields are expected to cost $15.
There’s also an available “ZenShield” which can load the StoryPhones up with a variety of relaxing sounds like rainfall, forest, and waves. A non-Disney-themed version of the StoryPhones, available in white and grey, come packaged with the ZenShield for $100. Like Onanoff’s other kid-friendly headphones, both editions of the StoryPhones will offer volume limiting at 75 and 85dB. Parents can override these levels up to 94dB with a password.
For parents who are concerned about exposure to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the StoryPhones have been designed to keep that radioactivity to a minimum. Wi-Fi is only used while downloading stories — usually, a one-time procedure — and Bluetooth is turned off by default. To turn it on, you must hold the multi-function button for five seconds.
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