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]