It was only a matter of time before a touch screen tablet computer was available for children, and leading manufacturers of children’s computer games – VTech have got there first. The Innotab is being launched this August and demand is expected to be unprecedented. Based on the highly successful Apple iPad, the Innotab features a 5inch touchscreen, built in MP3 player and is aimed at children between 4 years to 9 years old. You can download child friendly applications which are available from the Vtech store, and the retail price is expected to be around £79.99. Selfridges have already stated that they predict the tablet to be the top-selling toy this Christmas.
So what do you get for your money? Well, amongst the features include an E-book reader, numerous games with motion games and in-built strategy games as well, a music player, video player, art studio, photo player, organiser, a touch screen piano keyboard, address book, calculator, notepad, even a clock that can be programmed using a personal voice alarm and a calender. In detail the InnoTab includes a gravity sensor for fun motion gaming and interactive screen auto adjustment so that you can rotate the screen for landscape or portrait orientation.
Pictures can be stored on the InnoTab which has cleverly been designed to be compatible with the new Kidizoom 3D and Kidizoom Twist cameras. You can also download videos and pictures which can be enlarged onto the VTech InnoTab’s crystal clear 5inch screen. Software cartridges can be plugged into the InnoTab to enable instant reading of e-books, creative activities and learning games whilst the SD memory card slot allows for memory expansion. There is also a USB connection to a computer to allow kids to download much more from the VTech’s Learning Lodge Navigator.
Launch games and activities will include Toy Story, Cars 2, Disney Princess, Scooby-Doo and many others. The Director of the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, Director of The Education Arcade and VTech Advisory Council Member, Dr. Eric Klopfer, says about the Innotab, “Tablet technology is immensely appealing and appropriate for young kids. It provides an ideal platform for this age. The InnoTab capitalizes on the features and applications of tablets, but adapts them in a way that makes it safe and appropriate for kids, while maintaining their fun and educational value.”
There are fears however that producing a tablet for children is conducive to poor reading and writing skills and does not help with socialising them. Research has already shown that too much time spent in front of a computer and not in the real world can have an impact on children’s behaviour. However, with more children using their parent’s gadgets and the world becoming more media rich, we think it is perfect for a new way of learning and it does improve hand to eye co-ordination. Our advice? Best put it to the top of your Christmas list!