O2 is launching a device for the family home in April known as the Joggler. Horrible name, I know. The idea that arose from some hideous marketing session is that it’s dynamic and it juggles all the arrangements so that you don’t have to. Bucket please.
It’s a £149.99 device with a 7-inch WVGA touchscreen, an AC adaptor, Ethernet port, USB slot, 1GB of internal memory and Wi-Fi connectivity. There is no battery because it’s designed to sit in a communal area of the family home, where a calendar might normally go, and stay there without going missing down the back of the sofa along with the DVD remote.
It’s primary function is as a hardware device on which to base the O2 Calendar that also comes out next month, but more on that in a minute.
It’s got a very responsive, intuitive GUI and the home page is your portal to all manner of apps including weather and traffic reports, music and picture playback and live news stories updated every two minutes from a Sky XML source.
You can use the the Joggler – the name still doesn’t sound right – to make voice calls, to send and receive SMS over the internet connection, and there’s space for them to start adding features such as video playback, internet radio and apps that’ll place your order to Domino’s Pizza – very popular on the incarnation available in Brazil.
You’ll be able to pick one up as an upgrade on your phone contract instead of another handset and there’s plans to roll the device out to the States across the Verizon network.
The O2 Calendar is a web based application. It’s essentially a Google Calendar which’ll send out alerts and reminders via SMS to all those who subscribe to it, i.e. your family. You can share it with friends and neighbours to various levels of access, view it on your handset and, of course, on the Joggler – damn that name.
The catch is that you all have to be on O2 to use it, so if anyone’s in love with their BlackBerry Storm, then you can forget it.
These products are all part of O2’s attempt to hook the family market and at the same time expand their own empire. Get the kids in young with tariffs organised by their parents and they’re in for life; which all leads us on to the final piece in the puzzle.
O2 Your Famliy
This is a bolt-on to launch in May which will allow up to five people on O2 to make as many calls and send as much SMS and MMS to one another for free. This is apparently unlimited in the true sense of the word.
One person pays for the package – no official price yet but said to be a standard bolt-on price – and everyone else benefits, and that’s not limited to families. If you’ve got a group of five mates then you can set it up too, provided you’re all on O2, of course – very good value and very sneaky. Clever stuff from O2.
Of course, it’s all of sod all use if you happen to live in one of the vast swathes of this country that O2 can’t be bothered to give coverage too, in which case I’d head on over to the house of iRiver. No need to be on a network with them and you can browse on their device too.