To some, communication has been complicated by the proliferation of screens and the amount of time we spend in front of them. Mats Horn aims to alleviate the pain of what he sees as convoluted communication with a wristphone for children called Tinitell ($129).
On the face of the wristphone is only one large button, a mic and a speaker. To use Tinitell anywhere in the world, simply insert a SIM card control the contact list from the Tinitell app.
The product is Scandinavianly simple in its design and function — just one reason why Tinitell was invited to participate in and eventually won this year’s SXSW Startup Accelerator competition. Wearables.com talked to Horns, an architect by trade, about the Tinitell concept and what’s to come after the win in Texas.
We know you just finished several days of pitches in the SXSW Accelerator, but give us a quick rundown of Tinitell.
Tinitell is a simple 2G mobile phone that you wear on your arm. It’s for kids. Parents want to be able to communicate with their kids, but they don’t want to give them a smartphone. Smartphones are really expensive, break easily, get lost and so forth. So we invented this really simple and durable one-button wearable phone, so kids can be kids and parents can have peace of mind.
Is the idea behind the product safety?
No. At the bottom of it all, it’s about connectivity. Why we want to be connected is a big philosophical question, kind of like, “Why do you want to have friends?” The first thing people grab onto in a conversation seems to be, “Oh, [Tinitell] is about safety,’ but really parents want to be connected with their kids, so we form that connection with this cellular device.
So what was the impetus for designing and developing Tinitell, then?
I got so sick of looking at my smartphone when I was walking on the street, embedded in my messages, that I thought, “Oh wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to do anything with my smartphone.” I don’t have a kid, but I identify with the kid and the person actually wearing the product. It’s a breath of fresh air — it’s nice to have a product that’s connected and intelligent but doesn’t have a screen to just eat your face up.
Tell us bit about the SXSW Accelerator process.
The first pitch was a two minute pitch, and I just tried to squeeze in so much information in those two minutes. [Laughs] It was rough, but somehow I managed to get to the finals. I think an advantage that we had in our pitch was that it was built on four pillars: a good team, what’s the problem, what’s the solution, how big is the market. And thats what we did. We had on Tinitells on an image to represent each one and just dug in.
What was one of your business’ main points of difference?
What makes Tinitell interesting is that it does magical things, not just for the kids and parents but for the telcos — the network operators. Imagine, they have a lot of families in their subscription base. For every family out there with a kid, it all of a sudden becomes relevant for them to add another line. What do the telcos get? They get another SIM card. And that does two things: it increases [telcos] stock value because they have more SIM cards compared to the other telcos; and they add value for their subscribers. . .That’s what Tinitell does. We’re going global with mobile network operators; first by doing our beta launch, tweaking the product so it’s tight, and then going big with the operators.
Can we expect more products from you?
I am not an entrepreneur. I say I am a “Tiniteller.” I have no other ideas. [Laughs]
Tinitell is available for pre-order on the Tinitell website right now. Over 40,000 units are currently in production and expected to ship this summer.
- Volume Buttons (+ / -)
- On / Off Button
- Audio: Speaker & Microphone
- SIM card hatch below battery
- Micro USB charger and flash port
- LED lights in the hard plastic ring
- Water Resistant
- Talk-time: 60 minutes
- Standby time: 7 days
- Charging time: less than an hour
- Charging type: micro-USB
- Tinitells apps are compatible with iOS and Android, and you can also use our website to manage Tinitell’s contacts or position Tinitell.
- Voice Recognition
- GPS / Glonass positioning is integrated with Tinitells app
- A variety of ring tones!
- Unlocked SIM card capability – works with any SIM card in the world.