Companies designing kids-only tablets have had to upgrade the devices, as competition with regular tablets has increased. While maintaining its kids-safe interface, these tablets have improved several aspects, such as screen resolution and a lighter body.
“Kids are always aspirational in their ages, and they’re always interested in what older kids are doing,” said Lynn Schofield Clark, professor of media studies at the University of Denver, on the hardships of selling kid tablets.
Tablets for kids were initially marketed for kids up to middle school age. According to Eric Levin, strategic director of Kurio — a tablet branch marketed for older kids —, only four years ago, most users of the tablet were aged between 6 and 12 years old, but most recently the range has shifted to 3 to 5 years old, as most older kids would rather have the full access a regular tablet provides.
Kurio is attempting to reverse that. Their device Smart, which is a Windows 10 laptop with a detachable screen, allows children to perform various tasks similar to the ones they could find available in regular tablets, such as typing documents and upload them online and playing videos with the option of watching them on their TV screen by using an HDMI cable.
Levin is worried that, despite the fact that older children might be ready for adult tablets, the change in target has left kids from 8 to 12 years old without devices that are appropriate for their age. Because of that shift, companies had been marketing kids tablet more to preschool children up until now, focusing on making durable devices that wouldn’t easily break under a child’s rough handling. Kurio and other branches have the goal to design devices that more mature kids can enjoy before they’re ready for unsupervised web content.
Another one of these companies is LeapFrog, which had previously developed the LeapPad, a tablet for kids that was more closely resembling to a toy. This year they released the Epic, an Android tablet which aimed to create a more sophisticated device for those children who wanted something like their parent’s tablet, following the statement of Monica Brown, the company’s vice president for product marketing.
The Epic’s interface looks likethat of a normal Android tablet, runs way faster than the LeapPad, is able to install popular Android games (like “Fruit Ninja”) and has internet access — although it is restricted to 10,000 kid-safe websites, plus those unlocked by the parents under their approval. Parents can additionally monitor and limit the amount of time the child spends using the device.
As lots of kids still lean towards regular tablets, Amazon released the Fire tablet, marketed for all ages while still having kid-safe features, such as the FreeTime app, which allows parents to set different profiles for their children, restrict access to certain web content and limit the time spent on tasks like watching videos or playing games.
Users can also purchase FreeTime Unlimited, a service that offers over 10,000 books, videos and applications for kids up to 10 years old.
The company is also selling a kid’s edition tablet for $100, twice the price of the regular Fire tablet, although it includes a one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, a two year guarantee and a protective bumper.
Source: NBC News