As part of its vision for building a complete home solution, Chinese multinational Haier continues to expand into as many product categories as possible. The company already has all the major appliances covered, and continues to build on its presence in TVs, smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
The next frontier for the company is your wrist—or your kid's wrist, anyway.
As part of the its IFA 2015 press conference, Haier announced the E-ZY SOS Watch, which was designed to be used by children between the ages of four and 10, as well as the elderly. More a "marginally intelligent watch" than an actual smartwatch, the E-ZY SOS is also a wearable mobile phone (of sorts) with built-in GPS. The idea is to help anxious parents keep track of their kids' movements.
The water-resistant device connects to a smartphone app that displays the watch's location at all times. Parents can also set up a "safe zone" in the app; if the child moves out of a predefined area, the app alerts the parent. The watch and app record several days' worth of location data, allowing parents to retrace their children's steps ex post facto. There's also a microphone, which means the watch can be used as a portable baby monitor.
It may sound positively Orwellian to some—it certainly does to me—but I suppose you could argue that a child under surveillance is preferable to a child given no freedom of movement at all. The SOS feature, at least, is a reasonable compromise for parents who want to give their wards free range, but also want the security of knowing they can call for help if necessary.
Pressing the bright red SOS button sends out an alert and dials up to three preset phone numbers. If no one answers, the call is diverted to an operator who can assist the wearer.
Alongside the children's watch, Haier announced a version for seniors. In terms of functionally, both watches are identical, but while the kids' watch comes in bright colors and has a rubber strap, the senior version features a more subdued color palette and a genuine leather strap.
The both watches are launching in the EU this September. No U.S. release is currently planned.