I don’t have kids but I’ve got a lot of tech savvy friends who do. They all have variations of the same story — their children seem to have a natural affinity with today’s technology. A touch-screen device with an intuitive user interface built into the operating system is open season for kids. Before you know it, they’re finding all the games and leaving your high score for Angry Birds in the dust.
But most of these devices aren’t ideal for kids. They tend to cost a lot of money and aren’t necessarily durable enough to withstand the type of loving punishment a tyke can dole out on a gadget. That’s when the Innotab 2 steps into the picture.
Designed by VTech, the Innotab 2 is a child-friendly tablet. VTech designed the gadget for kids aged three to nine. It’s got a wide bezel designed to make it easy for kids to grip the tablet — it also protects the five-inch screen from inevitable drops and bumps. It comes with two styluses, which tells me the touch screen is likely resistive, meaning it detects pressure rather than electric capacitance.
The tablet has a 1.3-megapixel camera that can shoot still photos or video. Along with the camera app, the Innotab 2 comes with 16 other apps preloaded on the device, including an MP3 player, a calendar and a calculator. You can purchase and download more apps from VTech’s app market. Apps run the gambit of educational games to creative tools that let your kid bring out the inner artist.
The Innotab 2 has other features that make it similar to tablets for adults. An accelerometer in the Innotab 2 detects rotation, allowing you to change from portrait to landscape view. You can expand the device’s memory with up to 32 Gb of storage with an SD card. And your child can use the Innotab 2 to read books or watch videos.
The tablet runs on 4 AA batteries, meaning you don’t have to worry about keeping up with yet another charging cable for the device. There’s a content lock setting that allows parents to control what their children have access to. If you’re a parent with more than one kid — and those kids are good about sharing — you’ll be happy to know that each Innotab 2 supports up to four user profiles. Each child can have his or her own profile for the device, which means you won’t have to buy one for each tot.
The Innotab 2’s price tag is considerably lower than the leading tablets on the market. The suggested retail price is $79.99. Apps, videos and books range in price from around $2.99 to $14.99.
I think it’s encouraging to see companies move into this space. It’s clear that the touch-screen approach just clicks with kids. If that means companies like VTech can make toys that educate and entertain in a more effective way I’m all for it.