The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that LeapFrog is planning to launch a $40 fitness wristband aimed at 4- to 7-year-olds. The LeapBand gives cute commands to exercise (“pop like popcorn”) and rewards kids with points that can be redeemed for virtual pets. The gadget connects to a website or app, enabling parents to track their kids’ progress and select new challenges.
The Journal points out that shares of LeapFrog are down more than 40 percent since August, which makes sense to me — I have two elementary-age kids who dropped their LeapFrog products long ago in favor of tablets. So it’s clear that LeapFrog needs to come up with products that can compete as we enter an era of ubiquitous connectivity.
Most parents who are concerned that their kids aren’t getting enough exercise have plenty of ways to remedy that situation, however, without buying a Tamagotchi-like gadget that must be tethered to a connected device regularly to keep it updated and fresh. I think there’s a big market for affordable wearables that allow parents to communicate with their children on occasion, even if that communication is limited to SMS. But I don’t see much of a market for the LeapBand, even at an attractive price point.