If we needed any proof that 2011 is going to be the year of the tablet, CES and MWC have given us what we need. But why should all the tablet fun be had by the adults, as kids surely deserve their own touchscreen distraction too? Happily, Leapfrog has announced a multi-functional edutainment tablet for children ages 4 and up. The device has a collection of creativity tools – including a built-in camera, video recorder, microphone and animation studio – to allow kids to fully express themselves, and it will be backed up by an extensive learning library available at launch.

Built on the success of the company's Leapster Explorer and fully compatible with that device's library, the LeapPad Explorer will benefit from over a hundred learning games, videos, e-Books, flash cards and so on. The company says that little learners can look forward to HD-like graphics on the 5-inch finger touch screen, where a child-sized stylus can be used to practice such things as drawing or hand-writing.

Whether they want to learn about maths, science, music, geography, spelling, languages or the like, the fun-focused activities allow kids to get tactile and interact with the onscreen content. The LeapPad Explorer has been designed to withstand a bit of playful rough and tumble, benefits from an accelerometer for in-game tilt action, and allows parents to track the progress of their children and receive email updates with Leapfrog's Learning Path program.

The LeapPad Explorer from Leapfrog is set for an early northern hemisphere summer release and will be available in the U.S. for a suggested retail of US$99.99. Downloadable apps will be priced at $7.99 each and cartridges will cost $24.99.

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