The Yoto Player: A Connected Speaker for Kids

    Pentagram has designed a smart speaker that is more like the HitClips for kids. This one of a kind device makes use of NFC cards filled with songs, audio books and podcasts. The Yoto Player has more in common with old-school cassette players rather than smart speakers such as Google Home devices and Amazon Echo. In fact, it is not designed to play through audio but only through NFC-enabled physical cards. No wonder it does not come with a camera, microphone or screen.

    An inspiration of Montessori teachings that put more emphasis on tactile learning and encouraging kids to have a level of independence, the cards come with lots of additions.  This remarkable invention was created by two parents who were interested in minimizing screen time for their kids.  After a successful Kick starter run with its first version, Yoto decided to partner with Pentagram for the second run.

    The included physical cards slot into the top of the speaker in a similar manner as the HitClips of Yore. For those who might not know, the HitClips of Yore encased bite-sized clips of music in tiny plastic squares.  Parents can therefore connect the speaker to a companion app before “uploading” their own onto blank cards. Alternatively, you can also purchase cards that connect directly to Yoto’s library of activities, music, audio books and sound effects from partners such as the Roald Dahl Collection. As for the speaker, you will require a Wi-Fi network while the NFC cards content links to content stored on Yoto’s servers.

    When having blank cards, you can customize them with your own MP3s purchased audiobooks or anything else you might have uploaded to Yoto’s server. To make it even better, there is free daily content even though Yoto is still selling an annual subscription service for delivering new audio cards to your home four times a year. This seems like a lot of money when you compare it to the catalogs of music and audiobooks available on the kindle library or streaming devices. Despite this, parents are sure their kids will not be listening to child-unfriendly content.


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