Zipit messenger keeps kids in touch with their Internet buddies

I can't tell you how many tykes I see running around with cell phones these days. Do they even have anyone to call? Well, they must have a friend or two out there because the Zipit Wireless Messenger 2, or Z2 for short, is made with little people in mind.

The Z2 enables kids to chat on the instant messenger of their choice — like those provided by AOL, MSN, and Yahoo — around your home wireless network or near any free hotspot. The handheld comes with programs to manage music and photos, called (ahem) MyTunez and MyPhotoz, respectively, and has a mini-SD card slot for carrying said music and photos. We got to play around with the Z2 and found it lightweight, slim and easy to use thanks to a QWERTY-style button layout. The simple menus aren't deep, and extra buttons enable media controls — like stopping and starting a song — without digging through the interface. So it's sort of like Baby's First Smartphone. Oh, what a modern age.

The Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 is due out in October and should sell for around $150.