Designed for teens, the Motorola W385 cell phone doubles as a youth fashion accessory. Bringing teens and cell phones even closer together, the sleek and feature-rich prepaid phone comes in a two-toned color combination of café brown and black slate, and sports a bright color TFT internal screen and a vertical external black-out screen. The phone is available from Boost Mobile as well as Verizon Wireless.
An innovative GPS device could help parents monitor and alter teen driving behavior from a cell phone or computer. HALO by EarthSearch Communications was piloted as an option to Mazda vehicles at select Atlanta dealerships. The device alerts a parent by cell phone if their child exceeds a set speed or perimeter.
What's a camera phone, text-happy, comes pre-loaded with AOL Instant Messenger, features email applications, does Web browsing, and bridges the gap between man and mime?
Virgin Mobile calls it the Switch_Back handset by Kyocera Wireless. Combining eye-catching design, advanced technology and affordability for teens on the go, Switch-Back has two color displays - one is for voice calls and the other is a widescreen with a QWERTY keypad.
Other features include an integrated speakerphone, superphonic real-music ringtones, plus scheduler, calculator, alarm and stopwatch tools.
An IDC and SMS.ac survey of nearly 8,000 U.S. teens, ages 13 to 18 who use mobile phones, suggests that many in this age group perceive a cell phone as a social necessity - 35.9% of teens acquired their phones mainly to use text messaging while an additional 13.3% acquired them to talk with friends.
The study of teens and cell phones also indicates that cell phone usage drivers differ between teen boys and girls. Girls were more likely than boys to have purchased cell phones in order to call their family or to use in emergency situations, while boys preferred to call their friends.
Boys are more inclined than girls to use text messaging on their cell phones. Girls, more than boys, preferred talking directly to their friends over text messaging them.
"Unlike any technology before it, cell phones have become important social catalysts for teenagers," said Dana Thorat, research manager at IDC. "While parents can be rest assured that they can reach their mobile teenagers virtually any place and any time, teens conversely perceive their phones as a means for gaining social acceptance and staying connected with friends."
For those teens that do not yet have their first cell phone, IDC expects many are pestering their parents. Looking ahead, regarding teens and cell phones, an emerging wireless teen majority brings huge implications for new social behaviors among this generation.
The implications for student populations could be just as tantamount, says IDC. Current school policies that require the silencing of cell phone ringers during the school day may already be obsolete. Dexterous thumbing on a phone's keypad under a desk is all it takes for seasoned texters to conduct covert conversations with others during class.