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Tablets For Tots Talked Up At Toy Fair

2/28/2012 01:15:00 PM Eastern

NEW YORK — Toy manufacturers of all stripes convened at the Javits Center here earlier this month for the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) annual Toy Fair, and CE toys made their mark.

Although tablets were not quite the superstars of the show as they were at International CES, they were certainly present and popular.

The LeapPad Explorer, a tablet designed for 4- to 6-year-olds, was named TIA’s Toy of the Year. Both Oregon Scientific and TechnoSource unveiled kid-focused tablets, perhaps attempting to relieve parents’ frustration at having their kids hog their own tablets. According to data from Nielson, in the fourth quarter of 2011, 70 percent of kids in tablet-owning households use those tablets. This is up 9 percent from just the previous quarter.

TechnoSource’s Kurio features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. It runs Android Gingerbread and has 4GB of internal storage, with a MicroSD card slot to expand up to 32GB. Suggested retail is $199; availability is scheduled for the spring.

Other details include a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, 512MB DDR3 RAM, HDMI out, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, USB port, integrated mic and VGA webcam, and five hours of battery life. A rubberized bumper is included.

Both Oregon Scientific and TechnoSource highlighted their tablet’s ability to be used without cartridges but also touted the parental control features of their respective devices.

The Kurio allows up to eight profiles to be set up, and parents can set up to different controls for each profile. Specific websites can be placed on blacklists, or parents can select from a list of subjects that they want to be blocked, and the device will scan and categorize websites. According to the company, more than 450 million websites are already categorized.

Oregon Scientific, which unveiled the Meep tablet, said it will have its own app store that will let users download free and paid apps to embedded memory or SD card. The company was still in talks with app developers but expected to have around 200 apps available.

The Meep features a 7-inch touchscreen, ruggedized design and rubber silicone sleeve. It will also come preloaded with books, and, like the Kurio, will allow parents to blacklist and “white-list” websites based on content.

The Meep line will also feature a line of accessories, including decibel-limited headphones, gaming cases, a roll-up silicone keyboard, a karaoke mic and an electronic drum set. Apps will be available to interact with the accessories.

The Meep and its accessories are scheduled to be available in the fall, which a spokeswoman said will time well with the back-to-school selling season.

Oregon Scientific got its start in clock radios and weather stations and now offers electronics in the youth, sports, fitness, and wellness markets. It is a division of Integrated Display Technology (IDT), based in Hong Kong.

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