A tablet for the 4-year-old

Jennifer Collins Aug 15, 2011

A tablet for the 4-year-old

Jennifer Collins Aug 15, 2011

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A computer tablet for kids begins hitting stores across the country today. The LeapPad already sold out in presale. The product is made by LeapFrog — a company that made a wildly successful interactive children’s book more than 10 years ago — and has been looking for a follow up blockbuster ever since.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: Here’s one reason parents may be interested in a tablet for their kids.

Sean McGowan: Most parents, I think A, want their tablets back.

Sean McGowan is a toy analyst with Needham & Company.

McGowan: B, they want the kids not to be playing with something that costs $500 and is made of glass. And, C, they want something that’s safer.

The LeapPad doesn’t connect to the Internet. It does have a camera and will have a hundred games and apps, and…

Monica Brown: It is $99.

Monica Brown is in charge of marketing for LeapPad. It’s the latest competitor in the kiddie tablet market. There’s also the Kineo, more about education than games; and VTech’s InnoTab, more about games than education.

Richard Gottlieb is the CEO of Global Toy Experts.

Richard Gottlieb: I think it’s part of the bigger tablet war. And so I just think the toy industry is joining the fray.

And so are lots of young users. In one video, posted on YouTube, a four and five-year-old test out the LeapPad.

Kid: Mama, how do you do this?

The kids ask some variation on that question about every 15 seconds. I counted.

LeapPad: Drag your stylus across your pet.

Kid: I’m trying! Mama, how do you do this?

Brown: There’s always going to be on any new device, a bit of a ramp up on the particular user interface.

Parents, prepare yourselves. The LeapPad is expected to be the hot toy for the holidays.

I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

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