09. 14. 2004
Zipit Wireless Instant Messenger
I was going to say that these Zipit Wireless Instant Messengers would be perfect for kids, and yes, they would, but after looking at the specs again now I kind of want one too. They work on any wireless 802.11 network with a reach of 300 meters. There's a built-in firewall and encryption so your chat sessions are secure and spam and virus free. You can actually go into a chat room with this, not just one-to-one chats. There's a full QWERTY keyboard and a rechargable battery that will provide power for 4-8 hours of continuous use and up to 48 hours on standby. The Zipit can use any of the popular chat clients (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and ICQ, I would think) and doesn't require a separate service fee or subscription, it's just a little chat parasite. There will apparently be some sort of streaming music program included as well. It supports international connectivity and comes in six colors. Just $99.
The down side? The LCD screen is monochrome but that's not surprising considering the price. No mention of a backlight so it's probably not there. It doesn't look like there's email or web browsing either.
This looks like it could be the chat toy that kids will embrace, a much more evolved version of something like the Cybiko from a few years back and countless IM gadgets since.
The Zipit will be available later this month from Target, but you can pre-order one now. If it's as good as it sounds, it might be a good idea because it may come down to bloody fist fights in the aisles come holiday time.