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Google announced a smartwatch for kids and it looks pretty good

Katie Notopoulos   

Google announced a smartwatch for kids — and it looks pretty good
  • Google's Fitbit Ace LTE is a smartwatch for kids who aren't quite ready for a phone.
  • It allows kids to call and text their parents and has GPS tracking.

Google just announced a new smartwatch aimed at kids ages 7 and up — the Fitbit Ace LTE. The watch can call and text parents over LTE service (with a data plan), and parents can track their kids through GPS. There's also some gamified activity tracking for the kids. (It is a Fitbit, after all.)

Business Insider first reported in 2022 that Google was working on a wearable device for preteens.

If the idea of a kid having a smartwatch sounds ridiculous to you, you probably don't have a kid between the ages of 6 and 13. Lots of parents are looking for a way to be able to call or track their kids — without giving them an actual phone. Smartwatches have become a popular way to hold off on giving kids a full phone until they're older while allowing them some independence to roam freely.

The Fitbit Ace LTE works over LTE and requires a data plan, but not an extra phone line. It can call and text up to 20 people entered as contacts into the device — but only those who have the Fitbit Ace app installed on their phones. This means that kids don't have free rein to call or text just anyone through the device (no calling for pizza delivery, for example). Only parents can access the GPS tracking, according to the specs.

It is a Fitbit, so there's some activity tracking and gamification of movement and some video games that can be played with points for achieving fitness goals. (The video game can be deactivated during "School Time" mode.)

There are other smartwatches out there aimed at the not-ready-for-a-phone age demographic: the Verizon Gizmo Watch 3, the Garmin Bounce, and the Gabb Watch 3. Gabb is a company that makes devices for kids only — it also has a smartphone that is far more locked down in terms of privacy and safety for kids than the average phone (i.e., no social-media apps can be downloaded, no open internet browsing).

The Apple Watch is slightly more fraught as a kid device since models with a cellular plan are more expensive, and parental controls that block social apps or internet use are more complicated to set up.

The Fitbit Ace LTE is $229, which is more expensive than some of its competitors. We haven't tested this yet, but based on the features and the images of the sleek, rounded design, and the screen images of the apps — it looks really good.

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