A lot of ideas, even ones that have been around for a long time, sound great on paper and/or in an enthusiastic verbal sales pitch. Attach the premise that the idea will benefit children and the elderly and that idea is bound to get significant attention.
Long those lines MDI announced the launch of its Orbi Mini Clip-Phone Tracker funding campaign on Indiegogo. As per its maker, Orbi is designed for use by young children and the elderly who need an easy-to-use device for anytime/anywhere talk, text, and tracking. It does not have the unlimited access to the Internet that smartphones do, allegedly protecting the youngsters from bullies and predators. And Orbi lacks the complex features that older folks are sometimes not too fond of.
MDI CEO Dean Finnegan says, “Smart Phones changed our lives and connected us to each other like never before, with a disturbing exception: young children and the elderly. The people we care most about in our lives are the only segments of society that are not continuously connected to us, until now.” Finnegan continues, “Parents don't want their 3-10 year old children to have a smart phone because of the unrestricted Internet access, social skill implications, and the expense. The elderly typically don't like the large size or complexity of smart phones. The Orbi is the perfect solution."
Orbi full-featured phone functionality as well as one-touch dialing to 30 pre-programmed numbers, automatic conversion of text to speech, standard texting, and one-touch texting with 20 pre-programed text messages. As a safety precaution, there is an emergency setting to "call next number" if the first call is not answered. Unlike other safety devices for children and the elderly, the Orbi can be used to call or text any number and is not limited to preset numbers.
The monitoring party’s smartphone connects to the My Orbi App, available for both iPhone and Android. The app uses geo-fencing and can send alerts to notify a responsible party when pre-determined safe-areas are left or preset locations are reached.
Curiously, the device, scheduled to be available in the spring, is already garnered tech support from mobile providers T-Mobile and AT&T. The Orbi Indiegogo campaign offers several perk levels ranging from an entry-level contribution of $10 up to a $300 Platinum Contributor level for four Orbi 2 Touch devices at 50% off the retail price.
Two versions will be launched:
- Orbi 1 features a single-button intuitive interface and will launch on the T-Mobile network in March. It includes up to two hours of talk time and up to 500 texts per month. No contract is required. The proposed MSRP is $129.99.
- Orbi 2 features a touch-screen interface and will launch on the AT&T network in May. It provides unlimited talk, text and data. The proposed MSRP is $149.99.
There is no contract required and the Orbi can be added to existing family plans. The monthly fee for either the Orbi 1 or Orbi 2 is $9.99 for talk, text and data.
Sounds like a great idea and product, essentially a cellphone with an app. One question comes to mind. If the device is already welcomed by two major wireless providers, why the fund raiser? No investments from the supporters who stand to make some profits from the deal? Just a thought.
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