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Let's face it, Steve Jobs was wrong when he downplayed the market for a 7-inch tablet. Amazon proved it (Kindle Fire), Google reaffirmed it (Nexus 7), Barnes & Noble bought into it (Nook Tablet), and now Toys R Us is jumping on the bandwagon, albeit it's headed towards a different destination. Toys R Us is targeting tots with its specially design 7-inch "tabeo" (lowercase 't') tablet for kids. It's relatively affordable at $150 MSRP, and it comes pre-loaded with 50 kid friendly apps.
"Over the past year, we’ve spent considerable time talking to parents and children to determine what features and functions they really want in a kids’ tablet, resulting in tabeo," said Troy Peterson, Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Toys R Us, U.S. "We are proud that tabeo offers robust and flexible parental controls that can help protect children as they surf the Internet, and we are pleased to offer the tabeo App Store, which features only kid-safe content carefully curated by the Toys R Us team."
Let's start with the hardware. The tabeo is a 7-inch device with an 800x480 screen resolution, ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a micro SDHC card slot, HDMI output, front-facing camera, built-in Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 interface, and of course it all comes wrapped in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (which we assume most toddlers prefer over Jelly Bean, at least in name alone).
It's not just about the hardware, however. Toys R Us has built an ecosystem around its kid-friendly tablet. Among the 50 pre-loaded apps are nearly 20 games, including titles like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, Temple Run, and more. There are educational apps tossed into the mix, and a full suite of parental controls to keep little Billy from venturing over to seedier sides of the Web or from spending too much time online. In all, Toys R Us says it has available over 7,000 free games, books, and educational programs at its tabeo App Store.
"As an added bonus, if users bypass tabeo's built-in Internet browser, parents will receive an email alert to notify them that their children may be browsing in an unfiltered environment," Toys R Us explains.
The tabeo will land on store shelves on October 21, with pre-orders being accepted now.