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iBitz fitness tracker encourages kids to exercise by caring for a virtual pet (hands-on)

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Amid concerns that the world's youth are becoming increasingly unhealthy, GeoPalz is releasing a new fitness tracking system for families that — like so many others — is primarily aimed at making exercise fun for kids. The colorful iBitz pedometer syncs with an iOS app using Bluetooth 4.0, and tracks your steps for the day. For adults, GeoPalz has designed a standard fitness tracking app, called Unity, which we're told also allows parents to track the progress of any kids devices synced with the app. Unfortunately, we weren't able to spend time with the Unity app, which is still in development. The kids version, PowerKey, lets children use their steps to tend to a pet in a manner reminiscent of the Tamagotchi, feeding it and exercising to keep it healthy.

We spent some time with the PowerKey app here at CES, and it had issues syncing with the iBitz pedometer, though it's unclear if it was an issue with the app, the pedometer, or interference for other devices on the show floor. Aside from tracking steps, the app includes a running game that involves jumping over and sliding under obstacles. In our testing, the controls were pretty unintuitive and a little unresponsive, and overall the game was pretty terrible. Kids can also give their pet food and drink, and are encouraged to make healthy choices like fruits and vegetables over pizza and cookies.

iBitz currently only syncs with iOS devices, but a representative told us that the company has plans to develop and Android version as well. The kids version of iBitz is expected to retail for $35, and the adult one will be priced at $50. Both versions of the pedometer are currently available on IndieGogo, and hopefully GeoPalz can work out the product's kinks before its April launch.

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