The product is launching this week in Denmark and is aimed squarely at the much-coveted 13-to-16-year-old market. This modern-day friendship bracelet is connected to your smartphone and will last for one and a half days of “normal usage,” although if you have no friends it’ll last closer to a week. Tweens will then be encouraged to shell out for custom charms to fill the bracelet so that they can better represent their social circle. A heart charm, for instance, signifying their significant other, while the BFF button is.. you get the idea.
The bands themselves retail for just $60, and each individual charm will set you back a further couple of bucks a time. One particular charm covers your friend circle more generally, and can be used to contact up to eight people, with a colored LED underneath used to differentiate ’em. That’ll be closer to $6, although really the charm itself is just a piece of etched plastic, it’s the code to enable the LED that you’re paying for.
Twinkl’s strategy is only partly hardware-based, however, since it has one eye on developing a fresh alternative to Snapchat and/or YouTube. The firm has paired up with a group of successful Danish YouTubers that’ll enable kids to buy personalized charms. My favorite Danish YouTuber is Kristine Sloth, so I’d love to spend $13 on a Kristine Sloth charm that’ll let me tell her how much I’m thinking of her, and vice versa.
The other part of the deal is that the YouTubers in question have pledged to produce original content for the Twinkl app. If you buy one of the celebrity charms and your wrist buzzes twice, you’ll know that there’s a new behind the scenes photo or short video clip that’s exclusively available for those who’ve bought the charm. It’s also, as creator Róbert Jónsson notes, a nice and easy way to get some good publicity for a nascent startup without any money.
One thing that won’t be coming to the wristband is the ability to serve notifications more widely, from platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp. That would only serve to dilute the device’s purpose and place it in the same group as several other basic notification watches. Duh.