By Andrew Liszewski
Another piece of kid-friendly tech shown at the Toy Fair in New York this week is the IM-Me instant messenger from Mattel. Unlike a Blackberry though, or even standard online messaging the IM-Me is intentionally rather limited in regards to who your kids can talk to while online. The IM-Me consists of a handheld ‘PDA’ with an LCD screen and full QWERTY keyboard that interfaces with an included RF dongle designed to be attached to the USB port of their parent’s PC.
In order to have an online chat with someone else that friend has to be both added to a pre-approved list of contacts and has to be in range of one of the RF dongles which typically means they’re restricted to using it somewhere in their parent’s home. The whole idea of the relatively closed system is to ensure your daughter can only communicate with her friends and not a future star of the ‘To Catch A Predator’ show. (I’m Chris Hansen, what are you doing here with that IM-Me?)
At the moment the pinkish-purple stylings of the IM-Me ensure that it will be a girls-only product and it’s scheduled to be available sometime in the summer of this year for $64.99.