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Smartwatch for children integrates safety, communications and fitness

Your child's nagging for a smartphone, but you think they're too young? This start-up offers what sounds like a crazy solution: Give them a smartwatch instead.

But unlike the high-end Apple Watch, for example, the dokiWatch is aimed firmly at kids, but with safety features designed to appeal to parents.

Casper Chien, founder and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Doki Technologies, reckons this is a part of the $14 billion wearables industry that's largely been ignored by established players.

"GPS tracking and safety communications are definitely markets that haven't really been (tapped)," Chien told CNBC's "Squawk Box" at the Rise conference in Hong Kong.

The dokiWatch has regular 3G smartphone capabilities, including video calling, but is limited in key ways: it can only make and receive calls from a pre-set list of contacts, can receive text messages from a parent's number but not send messages, and can be remotely deactivated at set times, such as during classroom hours.

It has safety features such as a "smart locator," the ability to send auto alerts when a child enters or leaves a predetermined location such as home or school, and an "emergency SOS mode" that triggers three levels of notifications including one that tracks the child's whereabouts every minute.


Chien says the dokiWatch also encourages kids to workout with an embedded electronic pet.

"The more he walks or the more calories he burns, the bigger and stronger his electronic pet grows," he explains.

More than 2,000 of the $179 watches have been pre-ordered, after Doki Technologies raised $400,000 on crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund the product. It will start shipping the watches at the end of June.

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