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Tinitell

The world's smallest mobile phone designed to connect guardians and their lovable rug rats

by Richard Prime in Tech on 29 April 2014

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Today, Kickstarter sees the launch of yet another clever product: Tinitell is the world's smallest mobile phone designed specifically for kids. Yet this piece of Swedish innovation could easily find its way onto the wrists of adults too, given its solid design and simple accessibility.

The audacious Tinitell harks back to an era when manufacturers were striving to make the tiniest phones possible. CH met up with Mats Horn—a Brown-educated entrepreneur—as he geared up for the launch of his super-cute, 2G mobile intended to help keep kids safe and have parents and guardians worry less.

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The idea for Tinitell appeared at a family party Horn attended: "It was time for everyone to go inside as dinner was nearly ready. My niece flat-out refused and wanted to carry on playing outside. Why not—it was a lovely sunny day. Besides, it's what kids should be doing, not hanging about with the adults because they need watching," he says. The family toyed with the idea of letting her have one of their phones so they could call her, but expensive phones and kids playing outdoors was a combination they didn't want to risk, and eventually it was decided she had to come indoors. Horn's response is simple, "There should be a phone for kids! A simple, fully-functional one, for four to nine-year-olds that just lets them call someone quickly if they need to and lets a parent get in touch with them." Tinitell is that phone: a simple, voice-activated call system that can be operated with the touch of a button and saying a contact's name (be it Mom, Dad, Grandma, Ralph, whoever) and receives calls from other phones.

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"The parent or guardian programs Tinitell's app, inputting the relevant numbers and assigning the names to be recognized by the phone's voice recognition system. There's an intuitive LED system to let you know when it needs a charge and shows when a call is activated. You just run everything though Tinitell's app, which also features a variety of GPS positioning functions if you just want to check they are where they say they are," says Horn of the project that was praised as Sweden's most promising tech start-up last year, and is supported by Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Tinitell also offers a way to keep an eye on kids while avoiding issues that occur when they go underground or off the grid, "If you can't see them on the map just call them," says Horn. "It's amazing to think that, when you look at the ecosystem of the mobile phone, nobody has actually bothered to make something like this with the technology we have at our disposal now," he says.

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Thoughtfully designed by Swedish industrial designers, Newd, the watch itself is just 32mm wide with an adjustable, integrated wristband and comes in various colorways. It's also water-resistant and battery life is 100 hours on standby and one hour while in use. As Horn says, "You're not going to be using this every minute of every day. You just need it when you do."

Unlike other integrated wearables, the 2G Tinitell accepts any third-party SIM card and Horn is looking into developing a Tinitell calling solution, but for now this is a very simple and convenient way for kids and guardians to stay in contact.

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We all have times when carrying an expensive phone causes a stress or restriction—on the beach, at the gym, on holiday, out for a run, in the pit at a gig. In this context, Tinitell's potential is finding an audience well beyond its intended one. Additionally, the liberation of not being tethered to social media cannot be underestimated. Horn is a self-proclaimed wearables fan, with a genuine interest in how this technology can help users in reality.

A pledge of over $99 on Kickstarter will get you a Tinitell, which will retail for $179 once successfully funded.

Images courtesy of Tinitell

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