June 29, 2011

LeapFrog Unveils Tablet Computer For Kids

Educational toymaker LeapFrog Enterprises unveiled its new LeapPad Explorer touchscreen tablet computer for kids on Tuesday, and began accepting pre-orders for the $99 device.

The company, which previewed the tiny, five-inch LeapPad in February, said the tablet computer would be available on August 15.

Like all of LeapFrog's products, the LeapPad Explorer is educational, with more than 100 games and applications designed to improve a child's creativity and school performance.

Housed in a rugged case, the device includes a bright 480-by-272 display and a resistive screen, so users have to exert a little pressure when swiping or using the included stylus.

There's also a built-in VGA camera (640-by-480 pixels) for taking pictures and videos, an accelerometer for tilt control in games and a cartridge slot for playing LeapFrog's Leapster Explorer titles, according to a report posted on Techlicious.com, a tech website for women.

Once a user initially powers up the LeapPad, the device prompts them to customize it with their name, picture, wallpaper and virtual pet.  The Pet Pad application, which lets kids create and care for their pet, is one of four apps that come preloaded on the device.

There's also a Story Studio app for producing custom e-books, including an "All About Me" book that kids can fill with custom pages about their birthday, friends, family, favorite things, pets and future plans.   Children can also add their own artwork and sound effects, and parents can share the e-books through email and Facebook.

The Art Studio app lets kids to create art projects, while the My Stuff gallery lets users store photos, videos, e-books and other projects. 

Photos and videos taken with the LeapPad can also be uploaded and shared.

LeapFrog said there will be more than 100 compatible titles available for the LeapPad, including games and creativity apps, interactive e-books, videos from LeapFrog and Discovery Kids and flash cards.

And although a cartridge slot is available for backward compatibility with Leapster Explorer titles, all LeapPad titles will be downloaded to the device's 2 GB of internal memory through the LeapFrog Connect software, Techlicious.com reported.

Pricing for videos, interactive e-books, games and creativity applications and flash cards have not yet been disclosed, but will reportedly range from $5 to $20.

Additional information about the LeapPad, including how to pre-order the device, can be viewed at http://www.leapfrog.com/leappad/meet.html.