Toys 'R' Us $150 Android tablet for kids to battle Kindle Fire
If online bazaars such as Amazon can make branded tablets, toy stores such as Toys 'R' Us can make tablets for children, too. Toys 'R' Us has announceda $150, 7-inch Android tablet designed for kids called Tabeo.
At this price, the Tabeo will cost almost as much as a new Kindle Fire, which parents can use as well--so is there any value in getting a tablet just for kids?
For $150, the Wi-Fi-equipped Tabeo runs on a 1GHz processor, has 4GB of storage (expandable via a microSD slot), 1GB of RAM, and a 7-inch 800 by 480 pixel resolution screen. The Tabeo also has a front camera and microphone for video calls. It will start shipping in October, but you can pre-order it now.
The Tabeo runs Android 4.0, and comes with 50 apps pre-installed--including Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, and Temple Run. There's also a child-friendly app store, which will have 7,000 titles including educational apps for kids to learn about letters, math, and science.
Like any good kid-oriented device, the Tabeo features a bunch of parental controls. Parents will be able to set up different levels of security for up to eight users, and will be able to block 27 different predetermined types of content. There's also a feature that lets parents limit their child's online time by allowing access only on certain days or during certain hours. Email alerts are also available to alert parents when kids are surfin the web on unsanctioned websites.
How does it compare to the Kindle Fire?
With the latest Kindle Fire update, Amazon also introduced multiple user profiles and advanced parental controls, to make its tablet more child-friendly. With a price tag of $159, the Kindle could offer more value as a family tablet than the Tabeo.
For just $10 more, the Kindle Fire has a higher-res display (1024 by 600 pixels), twice the built-in storage (8GB, though it's not expandable), and a dual-core processor. The Kindle Fire offers parental controls in the form of the "FreeTime" feature, which lets parents set how much time per day they want to let kids use apps, watch video, or read books. When the tablet is locked in FreeTime mode, the background color changes from black to blue, so parents can quickly glance and see if the child has bypassed their password.
So which tablet is better? It depends on whether you want to get a tablet for your kids only, or if you want a tablet that can be shared between family members. For only $10 more, the Kindle Fire offers a better screen and better specs, as well as a better ecosystem of books, music, videos, games, and apps. However, if you're just looking for a kids' tablet, the Tabeo--with its 50 bundled games--is worth a look.