Vodafone Neo

Is there a connected device that has the power to give children a sense of growing independence while letting their parents stay in touch every step of the way? Designed for kids between the ages of 4 and 11, the new Vodafone kid's smartwatch, Neo, connects parents to their children as they explore the world through childhood. This game-changing watch is the newest addition to Vodafone's 'Designed and Connected' family of wearables.

In this ever-connected world we live in, it's important to develop new ways for parents to stay connected with their children, protecting them as they approach their preadolescent years. To redefine what it means for parents to support their kids without being intrusive was the main challenge around designing the experience. Understanding the value of this opportunity, fuseproject helped develop an ownable and iconic device that appeals to children but provides the necessary ways parents can continue to stay in the know.

Neo is an ergonomic, customizable, and playful smartwatch that allows parents to engage with their children, even when apart. Neo’s real-time phone connectivity empowers the child to be independent and responsible, while giving the parents peace of mind throughout the day.

strategy

To develop an informed and thoughtful product experience, we looked closely at current consumer needs and shifting lifestyle trends that impact how families are utilizing wearables.

When it comes to the changes in lifestyle needs, we saw parents moving away from toys, gadgets, and fashion that are gender-biased and gravitating towards more environmentally conscious, sustainable, and purposeful options for their kids. This generation is growing up with digital technology all around them: it’s how everyone stays connected, informed, and engaged—so the experience will have to recognize the immersive nature of how kids are using AI and tech today.

While we understand that kids will be the primary users, it’s crucial that integrating and resolving the needs and concerns of parents is central to the design solution. Through conversations with both kids and parents, we identified the following must-haves to consider in product strategy: For kids, the watch needed to be a fun, empowering experience with room for self-expression. For parents, we needed to create peace of mind through the features and establish an interesting product that will last long term.

product

The smartwatch’s durable and ergonomic design is coupled with an angled watch face that improves the viewing angle for the user, reducing strain on the wrist. The angle also provides a comfortable and natural way to use the front-facing camera. By tilting the screen at a 20-degree angle, we remove the need for problematic over-articulation of the arm, offering a more comfortable movement for viewing and interacting.

The straps are designed to be customizable across an array of bright colors that kids can enjoy. The strap closure mechanism is a simple and intuitive loop and buckle design, with an anodized metal pin to secure the watch to the wrist. Thanks to a clever attachment mechanism, the watch straps can also accommodate a straight-facing orientation.

An easily-accessible and tactile elastomeric button is strategically positioned at the top corner of the screen and serves as the primary action button for all of Neo’s basic functions: taking pictures, answering calls, gaming, and more. A child is also able to hold this button down for 5-seconds to trigger the “quick call” function, contacting family members from a circle of trusted contacts. A built-in speaker and microphone enables communication with family members using VoIP for calls, and chats, both one-to-one and in a group.

experience

The UI was designed with rigorous testing to ensure that the interface was intuitive and appropriate for this age group. A sizable 1.2-inch touch screen display provides a high-resolution UI that can easily navigate in combination with the corner ‘action’ button and integrated home button on the front. The corner button is context sensitive and serves multiple uses, including functioning as a shutter button in camera mode. The watch body incorporates an outward-facing high-resolution 5MP camera with a 1:1 aspect ratio enabling a fun way to capture the world around your child. The photos can be shared in real-time, providing enjoyable bonding moments between the parent and child.

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