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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

ZOMM was designed by a Mom to keep you calm



Where is your smartphone right now? Is it in your pocket or purse? Did you leave it in your car or at restaurant when you went to lunch? Have you ever driven all the way home after work to realize you left your phone on your desk? If you have, you might want to check out the ZOMM.

m_11986337484ca207d6147b1-1285687254-9811.pngThe ZOMM is a keychain-sized "wireless leash" for your Smartphone. Paired with your phone through Bluetooth, the ZOMM will begin vibrating, flashing, and sounding a distinct alarm as soon as you are more than 20 feet away. So unless you ignore the warning (or turn off Bluetooth) you won't be leaving your phone behind.

And the ZOMM is more than just a loss-prevention alarm, it's also a Bluetooth speakerphone. You can use it in the car with the Safe Driving Kit (visor clip, quick-release keychain and car charging cord) or just use it when your phone is in your purse or pocket to quickly answer calls. Going to the gym to workout but expecting an important call? Keep your phone in your bag and the ZOMM pinned to your shirt for easy access.

As a parent with a child who walks to an after-school center each day, I appreciate the last feature the most. The ZOMM has a panic button. In an emergency or threatening situation, just hold down the ZOMM's big button (about 10 seconds, which seems kind of long) to dial 911 or another emergency number of your choosing through the Bluetooth connection to your phone. When the call is answered you can report your emergency using the speakerphone. This feature also would be great for people who run or walk alone at night or for people who live alone. The promotional video below is a little unrealistic, but it gives you an idea of how it works. None of the information on their site says it sounds an alarm when you use the panic button mode, although it shows that happening in the video. So that point isn't clear.

After purchase, the ZOMM can be activated and configured on the myZOMM web page where you can customize your wireless leash range, sound control and emergency number.

storyimage.jpgWhy ZOMM? Well, it stands for Zac, Olivia and Madison's Mom, better known as Laurie Penix from Tulsa, OK. Laurie came up with the original idea for the ZOMM while walking on a treadmill one day and now she's President of the company. Go here to read more about her story and the rapid process by which the ZOMM came to market.

My only complaint about the ZOMM is that it seems a bit pricey for such a small device. The normal price is $99.99 and it's currently on sale for $79.99, but even that price seems a bit high and may keep people from buying. Some of the latest full-featured smartphones are just $99 with contract. Something more along the lines of $59 would be better, but I say that without knowing what the production costs are. It's a slick device with sharp design and good features. Hopefully with time the price will drop to make it more affordable for those who want to give it a try.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 9:13pm]


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