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Google Makes Exercise Fun For Kids With The Fitbit Ace Lte

Google has combined a gaming system and an activity tracker inside its latest kids wearable, the Fitbit Ace Lte.

Pitched as a “first-of-its-kind connected smartwatch that transforms exercise into play and safely helps kids lead more active, independent lives,” the company’s goal was to get kids exercising in exchange for game progress.

It comes with basic tools that allow parents to stay in touch with the child wearing it. Via the new Fitbit Ace app, which can be installed on iOS or Android devices, playtime can be set, activity progress can be monitored, and calls and messages can be sent.

On the actual watch, the children can use the onscreen keyboard or microphone to type or dictate texts or choose an emoji.

This watch uses a simplified version of the hardware found on the Pixel Watch 2, however, it uses Gorilla Glass 3 on the cover and has 5 ATMs of water resistance. A protective case has also been provided.

The Fitbit Ace Lte has a “squircle” (square with rounded corners) OLED screen with two large buttons on the right side.

The band is quite narrow and comes with “technology built in,” according to Google’s vice president of product management Anil Sabharwal.

The straps are called “Cartridges,” and when a new one is added, the user will see an animation of all the bonus material that comes with it.

These can include new backgrounds, items for a Tamagotchi-like pet called “eejie,” and unique cartoon strips called “Noodles.” These cartoon strips travel around the edges of the watch display, charting the progress of the wearer.

According to Google, “Eejies are customisable creatures that feed off daily activity. The more kids reach their movement goals, the more healthy and happy their eejie gets.”

Upon completing daily activities, the wearer earns arcade tickets which can be exchanged for a new outfit or furniture for their eejies.

There is also a page called a “playlist,” which is a collection of daily quests with targets to hit within a dictated time frame to ensure the user is engaged.

Additionally, there’s a new library of games built specifically for this wearable. However, Google is not in the fashion of encouraging addiction. Sabharwal said, “We don’t want kids to overexercise. We don’t want kids to feel like they have a streak and if they miss a day, ‘Oh my God, the world is over!’”

Each game has been created around encouraging the wearer to meet goals set to reach new stages. Every two to three minutes, they’ll be prompted to get up and move.

Google is calling this “interval-based gaming,” and after about five to 10 sessions, the company believes each wearer will hit the 60 to 90 minutes of daily required activity recommended.

The company also revealed the device was “built with privacy in mind, front and center,” and only parents will be shown a child’s location or activity data in their apps. Location data is deleted after 24 hours, and activity data is deleted after 35 days maximum. Google said, “there are no third-party apps or ads on the device.”

Considering the Fitbit Ace LTE’s hardware is a simplified version of the Pixel Watch 2, this means it’s not capable of sleep or stress tracking.

The Fitbit Ace LTE is currently available for preorder for U$230 (approx. A$348) from the Google Store or Amazon. It’s set to arrive on June 5. The device doesn’t yet appear on the Australian version of the Google Play Store. ChannelNews will update when this changes.

An extra U$10 a month (approx. A$15) is required for access to the Ace Pass plan, which comes with LTE service on Google’s Fi and access to Fitbit Arcade and regular content updates.

An annual subscription is set to provide a collectable Ace Band, with six available at launch.

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