Toys R Us jumps on next big tablet audience: KIDS!

Toy R Us is introducing a kid-friendly, lower-priced tablet in October just in time for the holiday buying season.

The Associated Press:

“Toys R Us plans to launch its own tablet computer aimed at children called Tabeo on Oct. 21, a low-priced entry into the increasingly crowded tablet business.”

“The news comes ahead of the holiday season, which can account for up to 40 percent of retailers’ annual sales. Toys R Us has focused on exclusive toys rather than discounts as it faces tough competition from online retailers like Amazon.com and discounters like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.”

“The 7-inch touchscreen tablet comes with 50 preinstalled apps selected for children, including games such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, and a book app called istorybooks. It will retail for $149.99 and runs on Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Toys R Us sells other electronics including Apple Inc.’s iPad, but this is its first store-brand tablet. The Tabeo’s main competitors include LeapFrog Enterprises’ LeapPad and VTech’s InnoTab.”

Toys R Us is no dummy and knows how many kids are using their parents’ tablet. Mashable, which covers technology and social media, did an entire infographic on kids using tablets. Here’s what they found.

From Mashable.com:

“…more than half of children between the ages of five and eight have already used tablets to play or learn, according to some research. For kids between the ages of six and 12, the iPad was the most coveted gadget last Christmas. Tablets are permeating family life, too; in households that own a device, kids 12 and under get their hands on it more often than not.”

“The iPad, especially, is becoming prevalent in American education. More than 1.5 million are currently in use by students, and schools bought some 47,000 in the first month-and-a-half after its release. There are currently more than 20,000 apps meant for education, and 80% of learning apps in the App Store target kids. Some studies even show that students who have access to iPads do better in school than kids who don’t.”

Here are some more stats on kid tablet use from the infographic. I have summarized some of the data. Click the link to read all the details regarding the studies.

– Percentage of kids who have used a smart device by age:

10 percent of 0 to 1 year olds

39 percent of 2 to 4 year olds

52 percent of 5 to 8 percent

– 7 out of 10 kids under 12 are using the family’s tablet

– In a 2012 study, kindergartners who used iPads for 9 weeks scored higher in every measure of literacy than the control group who didn’t use iPads.

– Teachers say iPads in the classroom: provide deeper engagement, raise motivation and can vary levels to match students’ specific needs.

– A study found a 27 percent increase in vocabulary after 5-year-olds used an educational app on iPad.

– They also found that the iPad is great for special education needs. There are more than 900 autism-related apps on the iPad. It can be set where the kids can’t get off the specific app and that is supposed to help them focus. Also kids can use the device to help communicate. Previous devices to help communicate would have cost around $15,000.

So what do you think? Is your kid using the family tablet? Would you get them their own? Is $150 the right price? Do you think tablets are useful in education? Do you view tablet time differently than regular computer time?

20 comments Add your comment

dd

September 11th, 2012
12:26 pm

This is the last thing kids need IMO. We are pushing way to many electronics on our kids these days. Does anyone teach their kids to play kick the can anymore?

dd

September 11th, 2012
12:32 pm

What I do like is that the “Big Wheel” is returning.

FCM

September 11th, 2012
12:41 pm

eh, i will get them a Nexxus 7 $50 more, no installed apps and likely to be used through college. more likely to be used in schools.

we really need to get tablets and usb’s used more in schools.

FCM

September 11th, 2012
12:42 pm

seriously think of the paper costs that would be saved….usb the homework directly to the school computer. no more “lost” work as it is all on the usb ports.

Denise

September 11th, 2012
1:15 pm

My nephew in the 6th grade has been issued an iPad from his school. I know it has restrictions on it but I’m not sure what they are. I’m sure he can’t play Temple Run on it (the kids LOVE Temple Run…I had to put it on my phone for the 4 year old to play with! LOL). I think this is a good idea, anyway, for parents/families that cannot afford an iPad but want to afford the kids an opportunity to learn on a tablet. It tickled me when I was at a cookout and a dad told a 3 year old to go get “her” iPad. (I don’t have one and I go to work every day! LOL) I bought the kids a computer for school work (they won’t be able to take it in their rooms) so a tablet for fun would be nice. The computer is their collective Christmas gift so I won’t be getting them one but I would have considered it had I not spent a grip on the comp.

Techmom

September 11th, 2012
1:22 pm

Just had a discussion the other day with some friends b/c one mom has a 3 year old that has some delays. One of his therapists suggested they download a couple of apps for their iPad to let him “play” (i.e. learn) with… for 15 mins a day mind you. They have an iPad but her husband uses it a lot and isn’t home much right now as he works full time and is finishing his masters degree. They’re considering getting a second, possibly used, one. I asked her if she had looked at the Kindle Fire. I have the original one and love it and I’m already tempted to buy the latest version. At half the price of the iPad, it simply makes more sense for a kid IMO.

While I don’t think paper books are completely going to cease to exist in the near future, I do think the trend of going electronic is going to continue to increase. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought an actual book!

Techmom

September 11th, 2012
1:38 pm

Hmm, would be good if I could finish a thought these days…

Specifically to the ToysRUs tablet, good for them for looking at the market and adding some competition… I’ll be curious to see if Apple jumps on the bandwagon and begins offering an educational, less bells & whistles, cheaper versions aimed at kids soon. All it will take is Amazon and ToysRUs putting a dent in their sales this holiday season. Of course with the iPhone 5 release coming out soon, Apple probably won’t even notice.

Denise

September 11th, 2012
2:28 pm

@Techmom – I can’t remember the last time I bought a “real” book either. Kindle is my “book” of choice lately. I don’t have children so I don’t know how families of readers would handle electronic readers…would they buy multiple readers or would each have a “turn”? I am suggesting this tablet to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law for the kids after thinking about it more. I think the 4-year-old especially needs something educational that doesn’t feel like school. She likes school but i doubt she’ll want to “play school” all day every day. Learning when she plays will be great for her.

Mom of 1

September 11th, 2012
4:22 pm

I too love my Kindle (1st gen)! In addition to my ebooks, I download children’s books too. I like that I can engage my son in a book while we’re waiting (dr’s office, etc.), he’s quiet, he get to practice his reading and he enjoys using the Kindle. I read the original article on the Toys R Us tablet, and while I think it’s a great idea, I don’t know if I’m ready to spend that much money yet…

JOD

September 11th, 2012
4:35 pm

We have gotten 2 tablets from a friend who designs them, and Hubs downloaded preschool apps for DD to the older one. Watching her use one of these is amazing – she figures out stuff so quickly, and navigates like a champ. Her Pre-K class has an educational Web site that we loaded as well, so she can spend 15 minutes at a time working on letters, numbers, etc.

@Techmom – I’m probably the only person I know who still loves – and buys – paperbacks!

@Denise – I had some preschool apps on my Windows phone, and DD loved them…until she factory reset the *locked* phone (required for my work email). Yep, wiped it out. Turns out you can factory reset your phone while it is locked/just with the buttons on the outside of the phone. And a 4-year-old did it by accident. No more phone for her – it was a major PITA, and I lost a few priceless pictures to boot.

George Mells

September 11th, 2012
5:21 pm

I just checked out the site for the Oregon Scientific MEEP tablet and I think the ToysrUs unit is the same one but with different pre-loaded software. Same price and probably same specs.

Misty

September 11th, 2012
6:06 pm

I have to have a book! I do have an iPad but I don’t care for it much so hubby plays with it more than I do.
Do children need it? No. I don’t care how educational it is, our children NEED to be outside playing and using their imaginations. Do a lot of children know what an imagination is anymore? Probably not. Growing up, we all shared a computer for school and play. It was in the living room in plain view. I didn’t have a computer of my own until I was in my 20s but I did all of my schoolwork on it.

Denise

September 11th, 2012
6:15 pm

@JOD – Now there is something ELSE I have to worry about when I give those kids my phone? Good grief! And I thought the only things were crazy looking pictures and changing my wallpaper! (smile). Seriously, thank you for that. I will have to pay more attention to what she is doing on my phone and synch it more regularly.

@Misty – I understand what you are saying about kids knowing how to use their imagination. My brother’s fiance did not want my niece to have a TV in her room (the 32″ that my mother bought…my TV isn’t 32″) because she was afraid the niece wouldn’t learn how to play by herself. She’s pretty good at playing with other people – she has a “restaurant” – but is still learning to do things by herself. There are 4 kids and 2 dogs so it’s hard to want to be alone because there is always something going on! It’s hard for ME to be alone in that house because I dont’ want to miss anything either and I’m an introvert! LOL

catlady

September 11th, 2012
7:17 pm

I think we should simplify our children’s lives, not add more mental and physical clutter. Every child has needs that these things cannot begin to address. Don’t cover up the problem; address your child’s needs!

Warrior Woman

September 12th, 2012
9:55 am

I think I would just buy a used iPad. If cost was a constraint, I would buy a Nook, Kindle Fire (or its replacement), or Nexxus 7 before I ever considered the Tabeo. More versatile, longer life span, established technology, etc.

Disclaimer: We are a tablet-heavy family, with 2 iPads, 2 Nooks, and a Kindle Fire. We have seen the educational benefits of them, and think greater use in schools and home learning is a great thing.

jarvis

September 12th, 2012
10:26 am

@catlady, they probably said the same thing about the telephone 120 years ago.

JOD

September 12th, 2012
3:12 pm

@Denise – LOL, I know. If it hadn’t been right there, I wouldn’t believe it myself. I am against TVs in bedrooms, in general. We don’t have one, and DD will never have one while she lives here. We already have more TVs than we need (IMHO, Hubs disagrees), and I put my foot down on that one.

I don’t see any reason not to balance ‘inside’ and outside time. Using tablets and other devices is the reality of today, and it doesn’t seem like to change in the future.

Ann

September 14th, 2012
9:53 am

The blog article only points out a few select studies that show positive benefits. There are also plenty of studies and evidence that show the negative results of overuse of electronics and too much “screen time”.

The goal of the companies that make these products is to capture consumers at the youngest age possible to create a loyal customer of their brand. And, once they have a “purchaser”, the next goal is to keep releasing “updates” to the product every year so that consumer feels compelled to buy the next version with new, improved features. More money in their pockets when you keep buying the update. This is why numerous electronics, from cell phones to tablets are being marketed to the very youngest of children. They tout the “educational” angle to help sell the product as somehow beneficial or “necessary” for an adequate education.

My 7 year old spent the afternoon yesterday finding caterpillars, lizards, a preying mantis, and digging for other assorted insects. You can learn a lot by exploring nature. Education does not require electronics. He is on the computer about once a week, but does not use any tablets and only looks at his Dad’s phone once in awhile to view recent photos. Even though his computer time is quite limited, he can navigate as well as any other child.

Kind of sad to read in the comments that a 3 year old was at a cookout, presumably outdoors with nice weather, and went to get her IPad rather than run around and play.

gfsdg

September 18th, 2012
12:20 pm

gfgdhfgh

September 18th, 2012
12:32 pm

sgrumble sgrumble tablet