Here's another 2011 Holiday Gift Guide entry for the kids, as we feature the Vtech Innotab Learning Tablet. This multi-functional tablet combines interactive animated e-books, tilt-sensor learning games, creative activities, and a rich collection of applications into a sleek and durable toy that kids will want to play with. Cartridges with your child's favorite licensed characters are sold separately and teach essential skills in reading, logic, and creativity.
You can pick up a Vtech Innotab for $79 on Amazon.
Read More | Vtech InnoTab
Comcast is tapping into its altruistic side a little bit and deploying a brand-new service tier, one that's designed to bring the Internet to families that would otherwise be unable to pony up $40 to $60 for the company's lowest tiered plan.
Dubbed "Internet Essentials," Comcast's new plan will cost a family only $9.95 per month for a connection that features 1.5 Mbps download and 384 Kbps upload speeds. There's a guarantee of no price increases after-the-fact, as well as no activation fees or equipment rental fees for families signed up for the program. Enrollees will even be able to purchase a netbook computer via the Internet Essentials program for $149.99 (plus tax), and Comcast is offering free online and in-person "Internet training."
To join the program, however, families have to meet four different criteria: They have to be located in an area where Comcast can actually deliver Internet service (obviously), one of their children has to be receiving free school lunches via the National School Lunch Program, families must not have had Comcast Internet service up to 90 days prior to requesting to join the program, and families must not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned Comcast equipment.
LeapFrog will be taking pre-orders for its $100 LeapPad Explorer tablet for kids beginning Wednesday, the educational product developer announced on its site this week. The 5-inch tablet comes in pink or green, has a 480-by-272 pixel (16:9) touchscreen and will have 100 downloadable apps or app cartridges ranging in price from $5 to $25 available in time for the August 15 release.
The multifunctional learning tablet "builds off the success of 2011's Educational Toy of The Year Award winner, Leapster Explorer," LeapFrog said in a statement. The LeapPad Explorer is intended for children ages four and up.
"LeapFrog created the first interactive learning experience with our original iconic LeapPad Learning System in 1998. After 10 years of research into the most proficient ways for children to learn, we are doing it again with LeapPad Explorer," said Craig Hendrickson, senior vice president and chief product officer for LeapFrog, in a statement announcing the tablet back in February.
One of our favorite iPad apps for children, Bartleby's Book of Buttons: Volume I, is now being served up for free thanks fo the folks at Monster Costume. They're prepping Volume 2 of the storybook, and have decided to make Volume I (which typically sells for $4.99) free through WWDC 2011. If you've got an iPad, you should have Bartleby on it. Why? See our Bartleby's Book of Buttons review.
Read More | Bartleby's Book of Buttons Vol. 1
Those thinking about buying the upcoming Nintendo 3DS for your pre-schooler might want to wait a few years. In advance of its Nintendo World 2011 demo, Nintendo posted a warning that suggests children under the age of six should not use its 3D functions.
"Vision of children under the age of six has been said [to be in the] developmental stage," according to a note posted to Nintendo's Japanese site. 3D content, including the 3DS, "delivers 3D images with different left and right eye images, [which] has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes."
Nintendo recommended the use of parental controls to only allow younger gamers to play in 2D. There is "enough for everyone to enjoy," Nintendo said.
Nintendo recommended that players of all ages take breaks from 3D content every 30 minutes - or if you feel sick.
The Tonka Rumblin' Chuck is an interactive companion designed for kids ages 3 and up, and if you've seen any of the commercials around children's programming this holiday season, you've probably seen this guy, so we're including him in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. This cheerful electronic truck aims to captivate your child with more than 50 sounds and phrases. In addition, Chuck features several fun animations: he'll wiggle, pop wheelies, and can even dump the load he's carrying. Rumblin' Chuck also includes an accompanying storybook, Friends for the Long Haul, which promotes a positive message about the value of friends and having fun. You can pick him up from Amazon for $37.57, which is 16% off the normal price.
Read More | Rumblin' Chuck
The Num8 from Lok8u (pronounced “locate-you”) is designed for parents who want to know where their children roam. This GPS locator device is concealed inside an ordinary child’s wristwatch, and a parent can follow their kid virtually via mobile phone or computer. Users also have the option of setting up a “virtual fence.” If a child with the Num8 steps outside this “safe zone,” the parents will be notified electronically. The Num8 will also notify the parents if the device is removed for any reason.
Of course, this security has a price. The device is about 149 Euros ($245,) and the location services range from about 4.99-19.99 Euros ($8-33,) depending on what type of service you want.
Read More | Num8 Press Release
We’ve gotta hand it to PeeWee PC, as their Pivot Tablet Laptop looks exactly like something that would be a home run in the hands of a technology-curious child. Don’t go comparing this to the OLPC XO, though, because the Pivot Tablet starts at $599.99. What do you get for the cash? Let’s run down some of the specs. First of all, the Pivot Tablet Laptop if drop-resistant and spill-resistant, which immediately should give a bit of piece of mind to parents (like me) who know the horrors of kids + tech + juice. It also has a handle, making it easy for the children to tote the 3 pound device around. Getting into the nitty gritty, the Pivot Tablet Laptop sports a 10-inch touch-sensitive rotating display with stylus, 6-cell Li-ion battery, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM, a 1.3 megapixel camera, and a 60GB hard drive. Not too shabby. You’ve also got two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi, and the whole thing ships with Windows XP Home, which is customized with a theme of your choice (things liek Disney, Sci-Fi, etc.). Being a device for kids, there is also a security suite that let’s you keep on eye on what the little one is up to while using the device as well.
You can pick one up starting today.
Read More | PeeWee Pivot Laptop product page
Gallery: PeeWee Pivot Tablet Laptop for kids
It’s a scary Internet world for kids, but Symantec has generously offered Norton OnlineFamily to keep tabs on them. The software streamlines data from all your computers and can flag trouble sites. It shows where your kids are going and lets you search through their IMs, Facebook and MySpace profiles, including checking what information they are putting out there. They will call it Big Brother, but isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? A $60.00 value, the software is Free until Jan.10, 2010.
Read More | Norton
Baroness Susan Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist, claims that social network sites may be creating a self-centered generation with a short attention span. She also says that they may be damaging to teens’ brains.
She said, “As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilized, characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize and a shaky sense of identity.”
However, one study claims that using text abbreviations could boost literacy skills since kids between the ages of 10 to 12 who texted were found to be the best readers. We wonder how many of those kids use the same language in their book reports.
Read More | Daily Mail