Meet Relay: A smart walk-talkie that lets kids be kids

Today we’re delighted to introduce you to Relay, a smart walkie talkie that lets kids be kids, from the same people who brought you Republic Wireless.

Relay_community

Relay was developed to help families stay connected without exposing children to the hazards of smartphones. Removing social media, screen addiction, and open access from the reach of younger family members, Relay combines the power of a smartphone with the simplicity of a walkie talkie, and brings a new range of freedom and security to childhood.

Read more, from our Product team, in today’s PWK!

14 Likes

OK, I’ll be the downer.

Well, honestly, when I first read the idea, it was a big “meh” for me. Then I showed the video to my wife and kids. The 14 year old dismissed it out of hand. The 12 year old and 9 year old immediately asked for one, and that caused the wife to ask for one too. I should say, all three have smart phones. So, why do they want one?

My 12 year old is a particularly rough boy. He’s in the woods, up trees, crossing streams, riding bikes, throwing himself to the ground etc. He regularly gets in trouble when we can’t reach him and the reason we can’t? Because the phone is far off to the side for fear of breaking the screen or otherwise damaging it. He LOVES the idea of having this in his pocket and ceasing to get in trouble for being unreachable.

My 9 year old on the other hand is the girliest of girlie girls. She hates carrying her smartphone. Not because she’s afraid of damage, but because she rarely has pockets big enough to hold it, and finds it annoying.

The wife then wants it for the ease of having it with her wherever she goes to reach the kids’ units.

TL;DR: In my family these will NOT be smartphone replacements, but rather will address use cases where the smartphone simply is sub-optimal.

17 Likes

My girls are almost 11 and 7 and reasonably active. I can definitely see places where they’d enjoy these and where we as parents would benefit from them.

I don’t know if it’ll take off or not, but it’s a reasonable idea, and I can sure see a use as a parents of smaller children.

8 Likes

I am considering getting this for my 10-year-old daughter. I am not prepared to get her a typical cell phone yet, but would still like to be able to communicate with her. I have two particular times in mind where it would have really come in useful. My daughter was put on the wrong bus both her kindergarten and first-grade years. The bus driver even told my daughter to get off at the wrong stop even though my daughter told her this isn’t my house. Luckily, the father of the girl the was she was let out at called the school. I was furious, but if my daughter would have been able to get a hold of me it might have helped in both situations. Whether my daughter that has been asking for a cell phone for years would like it, I am not sure about that. She really wants a smartphone.

7 Likes

My first response was "Nah! However, I can think of a certain “knucklehead” who keeps losing their phone privileges who might be better off with this. This is especially important for kids who have commutes or who have activities you can’t always to take them to and from.

4 Likes

I’ll speak from the adult big kid perspective. I’m an avid runner. There are times I prefer to run without dragging my smartphone along with me (or leave it in the car while out on the trail).

A smartwatch would certainly be an option but those that offer standalone connectivity aren’t exactly cheap and I’d hate to break one. I still have an old iPod shuffle I sometimes use. I’ll be watching to see what Relay’s music capabilities turn out to be. Combining that with point to point communications intrigues me.

7 Likes

an interesting product concept
I don’t think my son would be happy with it (he wants a smart phone more for the games/videos access than communication with others )

@drm186 How old is he?

Show him the video and let us know how he reacts! :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Though this is a device I, personally, don’t plan on using, I think it has incredible potential and addressing specific needs. I am not too far removed from being in a similar situation to what they are addressing. I needed to contact my parents, but I didn’t have an activated phone. The best I could do was text them using Google Voice or try to call them, but I couldn’t when I didn’t have data. I had to resort to borrowing other people’s phones. This would have been great!

1 Like

The GPS tracking is a very nice addition. Great to be able to locate your kid without having to call them, and also a great feature if they set it down somehwere!

1 Like

I’m in the “I don’t get it” camp.

  • yet another device (to break or lose)
  • yet another monthly fee ($252/year for 3 devices)
    -can’t have a private conversation
  • expensive (IMO)
  • overlaps smartphone
  • kids want/have smartphones

I’m not saying that it won’t sell, but I don’t see this as disruptive technology.

It’s a very good video, They should clip it into a commercial and put it on Nickelodeon.

2 Likes

Check out Google’s “Trusted Contacts” app.

You make reasonable points and time will tell whether it’s a hit or not. I would point out similar observations were made about tablets. Why does one need a tablet if they already have a laptop and a smartphone was frequently heard. Some feel the same about smartwatches.

It may be less about need and more about whether a particular device meets a specific use case done well. Technology need not always be revolutionary. Evolutionary and focused can be good things as well.

3 Likes

I have four kids, and this was exactly my thought when I watched my oldest daughter try existing “kid trackers”. Just like there is nothing fun about playing with a building (love that scene!), there is nothing fun about being tracked. We designed Relay with kids in mind - talk with your friends, play music, answer your questions with Google - and do it from anywhere with LTE or WiFi. And yes, your parents can access your location. But that is a secondary consideration.

6 Likes

I don’t have any kids young enough to try this with anymore, but I am excited to see what people say once they try it. The video is very well presented!

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he’s 8 going on 9 (I will tonight after he’s done with his Gymnastic lessons)
My wife and I are thinking he get his first Smart phone after he’s 11 (and moved over to the boy scouts from the cub scouts)

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Oh WOW that really put my brain in a spin. The video indicates there is no call setup time but they work over LTE. Please tell us how you did this! Do you set up a permanent connection at your switch? Can you call phone-to-walkie-talkie?

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Awesome! Thanks! This was done by our in-house team…they know their stuff!

1 Like
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