Firefly Mobile's flyPhone, glowPhone target kids
By Dan Butcher
October 2, 2008
Firefly Mobile's glowPhones
Firefly Mobile has become the first pay-as-you-go service provider to design mobile phones specifically for kids.
The company's glowPhone and flyPhone have kid-friendly, age-appropriate features and parent-pleasing control options to monitor usage and keep costs down. The glowPhone targets children ages 5-8 while the flyPhone targets kids ages 9-12.
"We wanted to capitalize on the huge success we had with the Original Firefly phones," said Kyle Cox, COO of Firefly Mobile, Miami Beach, FL. -- There is a distinct need in the mobile phone space for a safe, easy-to-use, kid-friendly phone and we are currently the only cell phone manufacturer that designs its phones with strictly these principals in mind.
"These are not re-purposed 'adult' phones, but handsets originally designed with the intent of capturing the needs of parents for their children, while keeping them fun and engaging for the kids," he said.
Both the glowPhone and the flyPhone come standard with easy-to-use parental controls that allow parents to limit calls and, with the flyPhone, texts to only those numbers they have pre-programmed into their child's phone.
This provides parents with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can contact their child when necessary while maintaining control over who else is capable of doing so.
The glowPhone, designed for kids age 5-8, offers dedicated Mom, Dad and emergency speed-dial keys and a five-way navigation key to scroll through the phonebook or play games.
The glowPhone also features a full-color screen, built-in games and customizable ringtones and wallpapers.
The more advanced multi-media flyPhone is designed for tweens ages 9-12.
Notable features include a unique electro-luminescent morphing keypad that can switch automatically between a number keypad and game, MP3 or video controller, as well as a built-in camera, MP3 player and FM radio.
The flyPhone lets tweens text and chat, and includes built-in games, ringtones, wallpapers and sample music and video.
The included flyKicks software makes it easy to manage content and personalize the flyPhone by downloading music, videos, games, ringtones, and wallpaper.
In its Mobile Kids Insights report, released last month, The Nielsen Company estimated that 46 percent of tweens ages 8-12 use cell phones and that, on average, kids get their own cell phone between the ages of 10 and 11.
Of the tweens who own a cell phone, 55 percent send text messages and 21 percent download ringtones.
That report also found that the top reason parents want tweens to have a cell phone is in case there is an emergency or problem; 92 percent of parents restrict how tweens use their phone and 68 percent say they prohibit downloads of content such as games and ringtones that incur charges.
"The 5-12 demographic is a very unique niche within the mobile phone market that continues to expand each year," Mr. Cox said. "Technology and cell phones are becoming more ubiquitous each year and we feel the growth prospects both domestically and internationally are strong.
"The problem is that cell phones designed for adults do not do an adequate job of protecting children and tweens from the dangers that come with unsupervised cell phone use," he said. "That is why Firefly designed our phones to provide kids with just the right number of features to satisfy their needs while still giving parents the ability to control how the phones are used."
Parents can choose between Firefly's pay-as-you-go and monthly rate plans. When more minutes are needed, they can be added on the Firefly Web site.
The multi-media flyPhone is currently priced at $99.99 and the glowPhone is currently priced at $49.99.
Both phones are available at Target stores nationwide and select Wal-Mart stores and can be ordered online at the Firefly Mobile Web site, http://www.fireflymobile.com.
Firefly Mobile's products are available at major retailers in the U.S. including Target, Toys R Us, Kmart, BarnesandNoble.com, as well as from regional mobile phone operators.
Firefly Mobile presently manufactures cell phones for the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Australia.
"We are developing highly targeted partnerships and promotions that use non-traditional marketing techniques, such as co-branded partnerships that appeal to both kids and parents," Mr. Cox said. "We are carefully evaluating partnerships with large media organizations to provide kid-friendly, parent-approved content and we will continue to do cross-promotions on the Firefly Web site and through distribution points where it makes sense."
Recent examples include this summer's partnership with Summit Media and Blink Entertainment on a tie-in with an animated movie release, 'Fly Me to the Moon,' and a regional promotion in the southeastern U.S. with Kellogg's and Publix supermarkets.
"Firefly does not advertise directly to kids, nor will we allow others to market directly to kids using our phones," Mr. Cox said. "Protecting kids from unsolicited and unwanted text messages and phone calls, including unsolicited marketing messages, is a top priority.
"That is why our parental control features come standard with every phone, including the ability to limit cell phone access to their children to only those numbers they have approved and pre-programmed," he said. "We are also entering relationships with well-known, national organizations that are focus on keeping kids safe, such as Child Shield U.S.A., whose primary goal is to reduce the numbers of lost, missing, abducted, and runaway children in America."
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