Kiddie tablets ‘grow up’ as competition grows

KIDDIE tablets have grown up.

Tablets designed just for kids are getting more sophisticated as they face increased competition from regular tablets. The new products also have better screens, speedier chips and fashionably slim bodies. They let older children do more, yet hold their hands until they’re ready for unsupervised access.

KURIO SMART. Geared toward older kids, KD Interactive’s Kurio Smart is something they can type book reports on or do online research for a school project. It’s the first kids tablet to run on Windows 10 and its purchase includes a free year of Microsoft Office, along with some OneDrive storage. Parents have the option of filtering the Internet and setting usage time limits. (AP)
KURIO SMART. Geared toward older kids, KD Interactive’s Kurio Smart is something they can type book reports on or do online research for a school project. It’s the first kids tablet to run on Windows 10 and its purchase includes a free year of Microsoft Office, along with some OneDrive storage. Parents have the option of filtering the Internet and setting usage time limits. (AP)

LeapFrog, maker of the toy-like LeapPad, released its first Android tablet this year. And Kurio is branching out to Windows 10 and includes a full version of Microsoft Office in a new tablet-laptop combination.

The use of Android and Windows software, in place of the more basic, custom-made systems used in toy tablets, allows for more sophisticated apps and games and a range of content from standard app stores.

AMAZON FIRE. Amazon Fire kids’ edition tablet, which goes for $100, bundles a $50 Kindle Fire with a colorful protective bumper, a year of FreeTime Unlimited and a two-year guarantee that if the tablet breaks the company will replace it for free. (AP PHOTO)
AMAZON FIRE. Amazon Fire kids’ edition tablet, which goes for $100, bundles a $50 Kindle Fire with a colorful protective bumper, a year of FreeTime Unlimited and a two-year guarantee that if the tablet breaks the company will replace it for free. (AP PHOTO)

But parents still want educational content and safety features that come with a tablet designed purely for kids. LeapFrog’s Epic, along with the other new tablets for kids, are attempts to bridge that gap.

The Epic looks like a regular Android tablet, but comes with a removable bright-green bumper. It is much faster than a LeapPad and can run versions of popular Android games such as “Fruit Ninja” and “Doodle Jump.” There’s access to the Internet, but it’s limited to about 10,000 kid-safe websites (though parents can add others). Parents can also limit and track how much time a child spends watching videos, playing games or reading.

LEAPFROG EPIC. LeapFrog’s Android-based Epic kids tablet has a sleek design, but the bright green bumper is removable. It’s much faster than a LeapPad and can run Android-based content, but in-app purchases and inappropriate ads are blocked. (AP PHOTO)
LEAPFROG EPIC. LeapFrog’s Android-based Epic kids tablet has a sleek design, but the bright green bumper is removable. It’s much faster than a LeapPad and can run Android-based content, but in-app purchases and inappropriate ads are blocked. (AP PHOTO)

Kurio’s Smart lets kids do things they previously might have needed their parents’ laptop for, such as typing up and saving their homework online or playing video on their TV through an HDMI cable. The Smart is a Windows 10 laptop with a detachable screen and comes with a free year of Microsoft Office.

Amazon is selling a kids’ edition tablet for $100. It’s essentially Amazon’s bare-bones $50 Fire tablet packaged with a colorful protective bumper and a year’s subscription to FreeTime Unlimited.

It also comes with a two-year guarantee: If your kid breaks it, Amazon will replace it. (AP)

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