Tech Review – LeapPad

If you are one of the thousands of iPad owners who get a little nervous about handing over your precious device to your 5-year-old so she can read Jack and the Beanstalk or play with Dora the Explorer, then help may be on the way. Electronic learning specialist LeapFrog has just announced the LeapPad, a $99 tablet for kids.

The LeapPad, which is now available for pre-order, promises to offer a wealth of learning activities for kids ages 4 and up. It will come with four preloaded or downloadable apps, and there is also an app store featuring up to 100 additional games and learning exercises priced at $5.00 and up.

The tablet has a 5-inch resistive low resolution touchscreen, with a built-in stylus. It also comes with a Nintendo 3DS-style camera (complete with video capture), a microphone, an accelerometer, and a game cartridge for playing LeapFrog’s existing catalog of handheld children’s games.

The LeapPad comes with 2GB of built-in storage but there is no wireless connectivity, so the tablet will need to be tethered to a PC or Mac to download additional content or share your child’s creations with family and friends.

The LeapPad will feature all the apps and learning activities that fans of LeapFrog devices have come to love. Interactive books allow children to learn to read at their own pace with auto-adjustment of the story text. They can touch words to hear them correctly pronounced and the microphone even allows them to add their own narration.

The Photo Studio app lets children edit pictures they have taken with the built-in camera, and the Animation and Art studios help them create personalized artwork. The Story Studio brings it all together with an “All About Me” story to share with family and friends.

"We wanted LeapPad to offer kids the ability to create their own personalized experiences and have fun while learning at their own pace with content that automatically adjusts to their skill level," said Craig Hendrickson, senior vice president and chief product officer for LeapFrog. "Whether doodling on photos taken with the built-in camera, creating a story in the Story Studio, or bringing their favorite characters to life with the Animation Studio, there is truly something for every child."

The LeapPad comes in a choice of two colors, either green or pink. It will be available at major retail locations beginning August 15.

Comment by Ellen Lebowitz, posted 6/29/2011, 11:43 AM:

I think LeapPad is a great idea for kids. It reminds me of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child to benefit poor children. Excellent and very cool.
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