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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.