Report: Google is working on a wearable device to improve teens’ relationship with their phones

Google is developing a new teen wearable device as part of its Fitbit family of devices, as it tries to capture a growing segment of younger wearable users, three employees familiar with the project told Businessinsider.

Two employees said the wearable device, codenamed Project Eleven – a reference to a Stranger Things character – is designed to help teens form healthy relationships with their phones and social media. One added: “The device could include security features that allow parents to contact their children and know their whereabouts in real time.”

Anil Sabharwal, Vice President of Special Projects for Fitbit, is leading the development work on Project Eleven. The wearable is slated to launch in 2024, but employees said the launch date and plans are subject to change at any time.

It is noteworthy that Google is far behind in the field of wearable devices, as reports indicated last October that the company had shifted resources and work teams to focus on developing the second generation of the Pixel Watch in the race to catch up with Apple.

In 2021, Apple accounted for more than 30% of global shipments of wearable devices, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report.

Apple’s smart watch has reached a large segment of teens quickly thanks to the features it constantly offers, as the New York Times reported last September that increasing numbers of parents across the United States were buying Apple Watches for their children as young as 5 years old. Thanks to its features that allow them to set up the watch of their children who do not have their own iPhone through their phones.

It also appears that children and teens are becoming a growing segment of smartwatch users, as a survey of teens conducted by financial institution Piper Sandler earlier this year showed; That 87% of the participants own an iPhone, and 31% of them said they own an Apple Watch.

So Project Eleven could be Google’s chance to capture a growing segment of younger users who might grow up to be Apple loyalists.

Google employees familiar with the development of the new device said: “The team has been experimenting with versions of the device with and without a screen, and that the wearable will likely have GPS and cellular connectivity, which means that users can call and locate them without having to cell phone”.

The closest watch that Fitbit has developed to this device that Google employees are talking about is the Fitbit Ace 3, a smartwatch for children aged 6 to 12 years, designed to help them build healthy habits and increase physical activity, and also allows parents Keeps track of the child’s activity levels and the number of hours they sleep.

Two employees familiar with the development of the Google device said: “Fitbit was previously working on a smartwatch for children and the elderly, but its development stopped after Google acquired the company, as it would provide cellular connectivity, and include a camera, but the project faced many technical and logistical problems. “.

But Google’s wearable device that will help teens improve their relationship with their phones and social media will appear in the market during 2024 and we hope that it will pay off, because teens need to learn how to balance their digital life with their real life; Due to the development and rapid spread of social media platforms in the past few years.

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