There's no shortage of tablet computers for children. There's the Leappad 2, the VTech InnoTab 2, even the non-functional wooden Tinker Tablet – and that's before you consider the many ways of turning iPads into children's toys. In fact, it sometimes it seems like children have now stopped playing with anything other than tablet computers, which probably explains why Toys"R"Us has launched its own tablet for kids, the Android-powered Tabeo.
Fitting somewhere between the lower-spec tablets made by toy firms and the option of installing child-friendly apps on a higher-spec device, the Tabeo is powered by an ARM Cortex A8 processor running at 1 GHz and powering Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There's also a 7-inch touch screen with 800 x 480 resolution, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB of built-in memory, a front-facing camera, a microSDHC slot and Wi-Fi capabilities.
The Tabeo comes with 50 pre-installed apps which have all apparently been chosen for their ability to educate and entertain children – games including Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope are joined by apps which teach children about letters, math and science. The tablet can also access the Tabeo App Store, where more than 7,000 free apps are available along with paid options, again selected by the Tabeo team.
One of parents' biggest concerns about handing an internet-connected tablet to their little ones is not knowing what they might get up to on it. Toys"R"Us says it's addressed this by including customizable parental controls which allow levels of security to be set for up to eight users.
Access can be allowed only on certain days or during certain hours, and the Tabeo can be set to block 27 pre-determined categories of content. Additional sites can be blocked and a warning email can be sent if users bypass the built-in internet browser.
The 223 x 142 x 12.2 mm (8.7 x 5.6 x 0.5 inch) device comes with a lime green bumper to help protect it from the knocks and falls it will undoubtedly suffer, though other colors will be available as accessories. The battery is said to be good for six hours of video playback (Tabeo supports up to 1080p 30 fps via Mini-HDMI output), 35 hours of music or ten hours of "normal use" such as internet navigation.
Tabeo will be available from Toys“R”Us stores in the U.S. from October 21 for US$149.99.