Gadgets for kids: SMS Text Messenger/Organizer


An unsolicited copy of the Young Explorers catalog (Gift Book 2008) came in with the rest of the mail yesterday and would’ve been tossed into the trash unread had it not been for a small photo of these SMS Text Messenger/Organizers printed at the top. Out of the corner of my eye, the slide-up screen and keyboard had all the makings of a kid-friendly slider MID/UMPC or AT&T QuickFire-like device.

Since it’s never too early to turn a niece or nephew into a little gadget hound and I’m in the early stages of Christmas shopping, I stopped to give the units a better look.


They’re just a pair of $35 handhelds that can instantly send/receive text messages to and from each other at distances up to 50 feet. Modern walkie-talkies then. Powered by two AAA batteries, the 4.75" x 2.5" devices also feature password protection and organizer functions like an address book and memo pad.


Why something that has been primarily designed for text messaging has more of a calculator-style keypad than a QWERTY keyboard is beyond me. I know that not all 7-year-olds (recommended minimum age) can type, but I’m pretty sure they’d master the QWERTY layout before they’d need to use that square root key in the top row.

Lesson learned: I’m never letting my peripheral vision boss me around again. Kid-friendly slider MID/UMPC indeed!

[Young Explorers]
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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23 thoughts on “Gadgets for kids: SMS Text Messenger/Organizer

  • Avatar of Dave P

    This looks like the sort of thing that kids get from relatives who want the parents to know that they’ve spent an appropriate amount of money but who have no clue what the kids would want. It has frustrating written all over it.

    Beyond the keyboard issues (and, contrary to your comment, my 7 year old already had keyboarding lessons in school) the range will limit you to your household and how many kids are going to wan to text with their younger brother/sister?

    At 7 and up, if you want to introduce them to the world of communication, I’d say a cheap prepaid phone would be a much better gift.

  • just what kind of messages are they going to be sending without letter keys?

    I like the idea of a small and cheap little SMS/organizer gadget, or of a “modern walkietalkie” that can do area messaging (but it should still do voice, IMO).

    If you were to design a modern walkietalkie, with the ability to do messaging, voice, addressbook, organizer … I bet by the time you were done, it wouldn’t be far off from being a lot like a Nokia N810 … only with a conventional radio instead of a wifi radio. Though, I suppose some form of mesh protocol (like from the OLPCs) added onto the N810’s wifi stack might fit that bill, along with some form of point-to-point SIP and Jabber capability.

    I wonder how hard/expensive it’d be to make an android device, in that form factor, that had something along those lines.

    (btw: more than the AT&T Quickfire, it reminds me of the Sidekick Slide)

  • Avatar of Carver

    She said not all 7 year olds can type, not that NO 7 year old can.

    Where are you from that your kid has already had typing lessons? Typing wasn’t offered until I was in middle school. In 1st grade, aren’t kids still learning how to read and write? Man, I’m out of touch with the young generation.

  • Avatar of Hooran

    Oh yes, this does it all! It uses AAA batteries too!

  • Avatar of Dave P

    Carver –

    Keyboarding is pretty standard in Elementary Schools in Northern Virginia. But don’t feel bad about being old. I couldn’t take keyboarding until I went to High School; and it was called typing and we used IBM Selectrics. The only real keyboarding was in the programming class using an IBM keypunch or a Friden Flexowriter paper tape punch.

  • These have got to be some of the most annoying toys ever made. Frustrating to learn to use, and rather cheaply made at that.

  • Avatar of lttl.espana

    The display looks like something taken from a cheapy calculator.

  • Avatar of katie

    i cannot get my sms text messenger to send a message to my sister’s sms text messenger . we are asking for help in this. send an email to me ( [email protected] ) if you have the answer to the problam !

  • Avatar of

    can you use it like from anthor state like from north carlinea to new york

  • Are they good for kids? my daughter and son want them i don’t know if they are high quality and good

  • Avatar of Nicole

    Is this is cheapy toy and a fake? Would Wal Mart do that? I wish I can test one out

  • Avatar of Carla

    We don’t know either did you figure it out? If so let me know too we cannot figure out how to send a msg either.

  • yeah those things are so stupid my friend brought a pair to school they took for ever to send something you got to point the little red parts at each ohter for like an hour or something gay

  • Avatar of natalie r.

    the texters are cool and they dont take forver to send something.i cant get the time nd date set it says error!its on the right day but not time and date.i think that they are cool.

  • yes i saw it at walmart but i wasnt able to get it at the time where can i order it for cheap??

  • I bought these for my kids at a garage sale but didn’t realize you need a password. Does anyone know the default?

  • the text messenger was hard at frist but i it down it was so much fun to text my friends and i had so much fun with the games on there i am going to buy a new one and it is going to be fun

  • how do you get this text messenger set up. it was very confusing. can someone tell me how this text can get set up so we can use it?

  • I have one of these and these aren’t cheap they work good and I don’t have any problems with it but the thing is that you have to be close to send.

  • i have a purple and white one & can u send a message to a defrent one that dint come with yours?

  • If you could come up with something similar but up to date, because many kids will be bullied and laughed at over things like this….. It really is very silly looking but if you made something more modern that might resemble a phone in looks, you may have an increase in buyers.

  • Avatar of nicole

    what is the names for this gadget because I need to get instruction on the ones I got my daughter for christmas. She threw the directions in the garbage before we could set them up. Where and how can we get the directions for them?


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