Sometimes I think that kid tech moves at snails pace. The ‘kids’ I am referring to are not the teens or preteens, just your regular 8 year old who is easily wowed by a fitness tracker that embodies his/her favourite character. It is these kids that I think that the collaboration between Garmin and Walt Disney will speak too.
The partnership introduces the vivofit jr 2 line of Garmin International’s fitness trackers for kids, featuring Disney, Star Wars and Marvel franchises. Priced $100, each device comes equipped with a themed band that includes a corresponding mobile app adventure. “The vívofit jr. 2 is all about making fitness fun for kids, instilling at a young age the joy of leading an active lifestyle,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin president and CEO. “We are honored to team up in such a unique way with Disney, tapping into the brilliance of their creative storytelling experts. Through collaborating across the brands of Disney, Star Wars and Marvel and infusing their characters and stories into our product and mobile app, we’re able to offer kids and their parents a gamified approach to fitness like no other.”
Engineered over a 10 month period, the concept was been led by Kelly Hancox, director of business development and strategic partnerships and Min Kao, executive chairman and co-founder of Garmin. Hancox explained, “(Kao) reached out to our president and CEO to talk about the possibility of incorporating Disney into future iterations of the vivofit jr. It’s amazing what Min brought to the table because he made connections with Disney, and from there, the partnership was set in motion.”
Designed for comfort and 24/7 wearability, this swim-friendly activity tracker features a customizable color screen, a 1+ year battery life3 and comes with one of two kid-tough band options: a stretchy band for smaller wrists or an adjustable band for older kids. The always-on color screen shows the time, the date, and even reminds kids to stay active with a move bar. In addition to tracking steps and sleep, the device measures active minutes, inspiring kids to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily activity. Once this 60-minute goal is reached, kids can advance in new adventures, motivating them to do their best. Completing fitness goals also allows kids to unlock new character step icons, such as Minnie Mouse, BB-8, and Iron Man, which can be customized on the band display. Toe-to-ToeTM step challenge encourages friendly competition, letting kids initiate timed step competitions with their nearby friends who also sport a vívofit jr. 2 device.
The vívofit jr. 2 experience comes to life with the free companion app, managed by parents, and each band design comes with a corresponding Disney, Star Wars or Marvel mobile app adventure. From this app, parents can review their children’s daily activities and even assign chores which show up as icons on the device, perfect for kids who need reminders. For kids who tend to procrastinate, schedule alerts can be set up to nudge them to finish their homework or brush their teeth. Kids can use the task timer on the device so that they know how long they have left for each chore. The app allows for multiple profiles so parents and siblings with compatible Garmin devices can also have their steps listed on the step leaderboard, promoting healthy competition for the whole family.
Hoping to corner the kid tech niche market, the two companies overall goal is to encourage healthy habits in kids through play. We feel that their biggest appeal is that the fitness tracker’s three different app experiences include accessory bands, available for purchase separately, that allow kids to explore all three adventures by swapping out their band with a new one and unlocking a new adventure. On the success of the partnership Hancox shared, “The partnership has been a great one, been rewarding from both sides. I think this will set the foundation for great opportunities for us together. It was a huge accomplishment for Garmin. I can’t tell you of how proud I am of our team.”