I've seen GPS watches—designed to let you keep tabs on your kids—come and go for at least 15 years, but most share lots of common shortcomings and few have honestly been any good. It's time for a GPS watch that actually delivers. That's why this latest GPS children's watch is exciting. The awkwardly named POMO Waffle looks like it might be a great way to keep tabs on your kids while giving them fun reasons to wear the watch to begin with.
POMO Waffle (honestly, they need to take a few of their Kickstarter dollars to work with a brand consultant and come up with a better name) comes with customizable colored bands, so your kid can easily change the watch's look. It's apparently made to last, with a durable, soft silicone rubber finish that's dustproof and water resistant.
As the parent, you can ping the watch anytime from an app on your phone (it supports both iOS and Android) to see where your child is. And that's really the appeal of the Waffle—you can check on your child's whereabouts anytime you like. You can also set up "safe zones." If your kid wanders outside of a location you've marked as safe, you get an immediate notification, so you can call and find out what's going on. And it even lets you know if your kid takes off the watch. That's actually pretty important.
And your kid can answer on the watch, because it has a smartphone-like GSM radio and speakerphone built in, giving it the ability to send and receive calls. Not only that, but if your child gets into trouble, they can press an SOS button, which immediately calls whatever phones you've set up for emergency contact. It can, for example, dial you. No answer? It then moves on to calling your spouse, and so on, until it gets through to someone, or then loops back and calls the first phone again.
And your kid doesn't have to have an emergency to lean on the phone. With a tap of the Take Me Home button, the watch turns into a navigation tool and directs your kid home.
Assuming that your kid knows anyone else with a Waffle, it also becomes a social tool. Waffles easily connect to each other, and kids can share stickers, messages, and even voice calls.
The Waffle is currently available for a little over $100 on Kickstarter, but don't forget that you'll need a monthly data subscription for the watch as well (POMO claims it's require no more than 200MB per month, and relies on VOIP so there's no additional charge for voice calls).
We're intrigued by the POMO Waffle, but there's good reason to be skeptical. In the promotional video, the watch looks a little bulky, which might be uncomfortable or unwieldy for some kids. And Waffle promises to do a lot in a space—GPS watches—that have had limited success in the past. Will it work as well as promised? Almost certainly not. Will it work well enough to be worth the investment? That remains to be seen. Even so, color us enthusiastic, and we'll know soon enough. The Waffle is scheduled to ship to backers starting in March 2017.
Campaign: POMO Waffle
Pledges start at: $109
Campaign ends: 1/6/2017