O2 has launched a touchscreen device it claims will "transform family life" by keeping everyone in the home up to date with appointments, news and traffic updates, without the use of a PC.
The O2 Joggler, set for release in early April, is a standalone unit with a 7in touchscreen that's designed to be kept in the kitchen, replacing traditional paper calendars and to-do lists parents keep on the fridge door.
It works in unison with a new O2 Calendar, which is accessible via a button on the Joggler's home screen or from a web browser on a computer or mobile phone. O2 envisages families using the device to keep abreast of anything from mum's hair-dressing appointment to the kids' after-school sports events. The company said that as the O2 Calendar is accessible on any PC as well as the Joggler, invited family members who live in separate houses, such as grandparents, can also keep up with events.
Appointments can be added using the web or via text message, with the hardware updating via an always-on home Wi-Fi router or using an Ethernet connection. It doesn't have an in-built SIM card.
But O2 said the Linux-based Joggler, which runs on Intel's Atom processor, is much more than a glorified electronic calendar.
It provides access to weather reports and news updates from Sky News, as well as traffic information from Trafficmaster. It can also be used as a picture frame, with photos transferred from an external USB stick to the device's 1GB of memory. Music or video can also be played on the device using the built-in speakers.
Other applications include games, a calculator and an alarm clock, while access to internet radio and a messaging tool offering 50 free SMS texts per month will be added shortly after launch.
The O2 Joggler will be available in early April for £149.99. However, new and existing O2 customers can pick up the device for free instead of a new smartphone when they start a new contract.
The product was originally conceived by US company Openpeak, which has sold a similar device to US operator Verizon. However, Verizon's version - called the Verizon One - focuses on video and communication, providing voice-over-IP services, for instance. O2 has configured and designed Joggler to cater for the UK market, and enlisted the help of several families in the UK in January to test market acceptance.