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Toys 'R' Us unwraps $150 Tabeo tablet for kids

Offering parental controls, the $150 kid-friendly 7-inch Tabeo tablet goes on sale October 21 but can be pre-ordered now.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Toys R Us Tabeo tablet
The $150, 7-inch Tabeo tablet from Toys 'R' Us. Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us will sell a new Android tablet aimed at the younger crowd.

The 7-inch Tabeo tablet sounds like a lot of entry-level Android tablets. Powered by a 1GHz processor, the multitouch device comes with 4GB of built-in storage but can handle up to 32GB with a micro SDHC card.

Equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, the Tabeo lets kids browse the Internet, including Flash-enabled Web sites. A front-facing camera is included, as is an HDMI port so children can connect the tablet to a TV. The device comes with 50 preloaded games, books, and educational apps and offers access to 6,000 more apps through the Tabeo Store.

In a nod to kids, the tablet is protected by a drop-safe bumper. And for their parents, specific controls are available to block objectionable Web sites.

The Tabeo will be sold only through Toys "R" Us, says the Wall Street Journal, so that people can't try it out in the store and then buy it cheaper online. The $150 tablet will reach store shelves on October 21, but parents can preorder it online now through the Toys "R" Us Web site. The site lists an estimated ship date of October 1.

The new tablet will compete against several rival devices for kids, all now priced at the same amount.

The 7-inch Kurio tablet comes with Android 4.0 and offers 4GB of built-in storage. The Meep is another 7-inch Android tablet. And the Lexibook Junior tablet is yet another Android 4.0 device.

Here's one question about all these tablets. Do children today really need a kids' tablet?

My 5-year-old nephew is quite adept at using his parents' Kindle Fire to play games and watch videos. For parents looking to save some money, sharing the family tablet seems a more budget-conscious way to go. But there does seem to be a thriving market for certain dedicated child-friendly and educational devices.

The Leapfrog Explorer was a hot kids' tablet last Christmas. But as the Journal points out, the Leapfrog is more of an educational device with no Internet access. With the Kindle Fire and Galaxy Nexus 7 selling for $200, can Toys "R" Us carve out a niche for another standard $150 kids' tablet?