by: posted Thursday, March 29, 2012
Ready or not, here comes a swarm of Android touch-screen tablets just for children.
Leading the pack is Nabi
by Fuhu ($200), a tablet with a split personality. One is for children; the other is for parents who know the password. It is easy to customize your child’s experience. When in Mommy Mode, Nabi becomes a fully functional tablet with a front-facing camera. Preinstalled apps include Cut the Rope and Need for Speed Shift by Electronic Arts, proof that this tablet has horsepower when needed. According to Fuhu, a major upgrade is planned for June, which includes dual cameras, multiple child accounts and the latest version of Android.
For the parents worried about germs, PlayBase Plus by Kurma ($190) has an antibacterial screen coating and a “medical grade” silicone cover. Other features include a front-facing camera and 8 gigabytes of storage. The aluminum-backed tablet has apps that come by way of two preinstalled app stores: Soc.io and Appslib. Filtering is provided by NetNanny.
For the “get my baby into Harvard” demographic, Vinci Tab by the Rulingnet Corporation ($389 and up) wraps the 7-inch screen in distinctive toddler-friendly red handles. The tablet lacks Wi-Fi, to remove the possibility of a child wandering astray online. Upgrades, plus a pocket-size model called Vinci Tab M, are scheduled for this summer.
Child Pad by Archos ($130) is the world’s first movie-themed tablet. Archos, an experienced Android tablet maker, says that the silicon-wrapped tablet will come with 28 preinstalled apps, plus the AppsLib Android app store. A six-month trial to the French-made Editions Profil’s Mobile Parental Filter is included. After the six months, the list stops being updated unless you sign up.
For a locked-down, gated digital experience, Fable ($130) due this fall from Isabella Products, which is based in Chicago, offers songs, pictures and apps by way of a center-mounted carousel and a home button. When online, the tablet can be synced so photos and videos can be shared from online storage.
Designed in France, Kurio7 by Kidz Delight ($200) is offered in 7-inch and a $330 10-inch iPad-size model. Parental controls let you configure the device for up to eight children and there are slots for both mini-SD memory expansion and a mini-HDMI plug. The 7-inch version has a car holder for road trips.
Also from France, the LexiBook Tablet ($150) is one of a line of age-specific tablets planned for the American market this year. Unique features include an external plug-in keyboard and word processing software.
Finally, MEEP! ($150) from Oregon Scientific offers typical features — a front-facing camera, Wi-Fi, micro-SD card, HDMI and parental controls — but also has a screen that senses how hard you are pressing it. Movies, music and apps will be available from a specialized store.
The Kurio7 by Kidz Delight can be configured for eight children.
The Child Pad by Archos is a movie-themed tablet.