Sometimes it’s the story of how a product came to be that are the best sign of how good a product will be. That’s why I love Birde – it’s the speaker designed for kids, by an Aussie mum.
Your kids love music? Enjoy the Wiggles? Giggle and Hoot? How are they being kept entertained? – You’re probably handing over your smartphone and connecting a Bluetooth speaker.
That leaves you without your phone for a while, and it also creates a reliance on the smartphone or tablet device in kids at a very young age.
Enter Birde. This little speaker does NOT pair with your smartphone or tablet. It doesn’t even have Bluetooth connectivity. The technology – other than the speakers themselves is mainly WiFi based.
You set the device up by connecting it to a WiFi network immediately syncing with your own smartphone which allows you via your phone to control any software updates as well as the content (which I’ll get to).
The only negative I’ve found on the Birde is that it won’t connect to a Mesh WiFi system, it requires a 2.4GHz WiFi network. In a world of Netgear Orbing and DLink Covr and the like – that’s going to be an increasingly big problem – but not something version 2.0 can’t handle I’m sure.
For most of you though, that won’t be an issue.
So here’s how Birde works without Bluetooth.
Tap and Go. Think of how your credit card works at the Servo. With Birde it’s all about “Seeds”. Each “Seed” is a little Token. You get a couple in the box. The kids just grab the one they want, tap it on the speaker – and it plays!
You pop into a store or online and buy more “seeds” just as you would buying a CD or Audiobook.
Tapping the Seed for the first time will initiate a download – the content isn’t all on the speaker at first, it is downloaded when you buy each seed.
This in fact is the only time that you NEED the device to be in your WiFi zone. Otherwise you can tap and go to play music on a deserted island if needed.
There’s ABC content, Wiggles, Giggle and Hoot and even Nickelodeon. In fact Nickelodeon reached out to Birde to get involved, not the other way round. Remarkable Aussie story.
But wait, there’s more. Got your network hooked up with a Smart TV/Chromecast. The Birde can link up and you can even play video content with a simple tap and go.
Honestly, such a brilliant idea.
There’s two versions available. $299 featuring $60 worth of content and a wireless charging base. And one for $199 which is MicroUSB charged.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.