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Tablets for Your Digital Family

Tablets are becoming increasingly popular in today’s technological world. It’s important to know what is available when choosing a tablet for your family. Here are four basic kinds of tablets to choose from:

  • An Apple iPad: The Apple iPad and iPad mini run on Apple’s operating system (iOS) and feature games and applications downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store.

  • An Android tablet: Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and Amazon’s Kindle Fire are examples of Android tablets. These tablets offer access to child-friendly e-books and downloads, but they’re not created specifically for kids.

  • Android tablets for kids: Some tablets created for children — such as the Nabi — run on an Android platform and use Android OS–based apps much like the NOOK and Kindle Fire.

  • Learning device tablets: These tablets are created specifically for kids and use only the apps and cartridges developed specifically for them by the tablet’s parent company.

The following are examples of Android tablets for kids or learning device tablets created specifically for children.

VTech InnoTab

The VTech InnoTab is a learning application tablet that features the following capabilities:

  • Still camera

  • Video camera

  • MP3 player

  • Photo view

  • Video player

  • “Friends” photo address book

  • Face Race motion sensor game

  • “Notes” notepad with onscreen keyboard

  • Clock with stopwatch

  • Calendar with stickers

  • Calculator

The InnoTab also plays games purchased either in application or game cartridge form. The InnoTab includes 2GB of internal memory, but you can upgrade that to up to 32GB to store more photos, videos, and applications on the device. The tablet is designed with kids in mind, including protective silicone corners. Parents can change parental settings on this device, including using a content lock feature.

This device is designed for children between the ages of 3 and 9 years and retails at a suggested price of $80.

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LeapFrog LeapPad

The LeapPad Learning Tablet is for children ages 4 to 9 years of age and retails for around $100. This device features the following capabilities:

  • Built-in microphone

  • Still camera

  • Video camera

  • Motion-based play

  • 2GB of memory

  • Story studio

  • Art studio

  • Animation studio

  • Photo studio

Like the InnoTab, the LeapPad allows users to play games purchased in both downloads and on cartridges. Also, like the LeapFrog Leapster, parents of LeapPad users can track their progress on educational games by connecting their LeapPad to the online LeapFrog Learning Path.

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Nabi

The Nabi is an Android tablet designed specifically for children. The Nabi features the following, all in a protective, easy-to-grip silicone casing:

  • Microphone

  • Still camera

  • Video camera

  • MP3 player

  • Video viewer

  • 8GB of expandable memory

  • 2GB of free cloud storage

  • Fooz Kids University (an integrated learning system)

  • Nabi’s Chore List

  • Nabi’s Treasure Box

  • Spinlets+ (kid-friendly songs)

  • Access to a filtered applications store

  • Wi-Fi

The Nabi Android tablet retails for $200 and is suggested for kids age 7 years and older.

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Kurio

The Kurio is an Android tablet that allows up to eight profiles along with extensive parental control features, making it a tablet that the entire family can use. The Kurio include the following features:

  • Extensive preloaded content

  • Internet browsing with Wi-Fi

  • Still camera

  • Video recorder

  • Educational apps at the Kurio Store

  • An e-book reader

  • MP3 player

  • Touchscreen

  • Microphone

  • Compatibility with televisions

  • 4GB storage

The Kurio Android tablet for families retails for $150.

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MEEP!

The MEEP! tablet for kids, from Oregon Scientific, is designed for kids age 6 and older. The MEEP! tablet runs on the Android platform and features the following capabilities:

  • Protective silicone case

  • Still camera

  • Video camera

  • Wi-Fi

  • Internet access

  • Access to applications that can be purchased with a virtual allowance provided by parents

The MEEP! is available for $150.

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Tabeo

The Tabeo tablet for kids runs on the Android platform and comes preloaded with more than 50 of the top applications enjoyed by kids — including Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, and Angry Birds — along with stories, puzzles, and more.

Like other tablets on the market for kids, the available parental controls allow you to determine settings such as time limits and use times as well as create up to eight different accounts, each with different parental controls. This tablet also features the following:

  • Still camera

  • Video camera

  • HDMI output

  • Wi-Fi

  • 4GB storage space

  • Microphone

Although the Tabeo offers access to Android platform entertainment apps, it also comes preloaded with books and educational apps that allow kids to work on skills, such as learning the alphabet and math. The Tabeo is for kids age 5 and older and retails for $150.

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Vinci

The Vinci tablet claims to be for children 1.5 to 9 years old and is labeled by its owners as a “learning tablet.” The games and programs on this tablet are based on a scaffolding teaching method that encourages kids to build on their learning in 43 learning subjects with three levels of assessment. Areas of learning include the following:

  • Thinking skills

  • Emotional and social skills

  • Language and literacy

  • Math and logical reasoning

  • General knowledge

  • Science

The Vinci runs on the Android platform and includes the following technological characteristics:

  • 8GB memory

  • Wi-Fi

  • Parental controls

  • MP3 player

  • Still camera

The Vinci sells for $200.

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