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Kid's Phone Service Firefly Mobile Shutting Down

Firefly Mobile, an AT&T MVNO that billed itself as "The mobile phone for mobile kids" has posted a notice on it's web site announcing that it is ending mobile network service on October 24, 2012. Customers have until then to use up their airtime balances. There will be no refunds of unused minutes. 

Firefly's signature handset, the GlowPhone, is a tiny toy-like design with madly flashing lights inside. It has no keypad, calls can only be made from the 50 entry phone book, which is protected by a PIN code and only supposed to be edited by the parents. There are "Mom" and "Dad" buttons (bet they didn't sell many GlowPhones to non-traditional families) and a 911 button. The display is a tiny 1.5 inch 128 x 128 px lcd and there's no web access or camera.

Firefly, which launched in 2003, was well funded receiving over $40 million in venture capital funding, according to CrunchBase. Firefly phones and service were even sold by AT&T stores and Target at one time.

Apparently sales didn't meet expectations, which doesn't surprise me at all. I'd expect that even young children would scoff at a toy-like limited phone. And Firefly didn't offer parents much either, there was no GPS child tracking and entering names and numbers into the phone book without a keypad had to be cumbersome. On top of that the plans weren't very competitive. Unlimited talk and text (no data) was a whopping $65/month. Pay as you go rates of 15¢/minute and 10¢/text with a $10 monthly minimum weren't that great either.

I can't imagine Firefly had many users left. But if you still have a GlowPhone or the basic Nokia 100 candy bar that Firefly offered for kids who had outgrown their GlowPhone, Firefly says that you can continue using it with "a SIM card from any GSM cellular carrier" Apparently, the GlowPhones are unlocked. And if you want a GlowPhone for your collection of failed tech products they are still available on the Firefly site for $49.99

Source: HowardForums

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  1. This was the iPhone of it's time... Not by popularity, but the features it had...

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