91% of UK children have access to the internet at home, 62% of 12 to15 year-olds own a smartphone with the average age of initial ownership placed at 12, and 43% of children use the internet in their bedroom. Children expect to be connected, and certainly know their Gingerbread from their Jelly Bean.
So, with Christmas approaching, we thought it would be helpful to review the ‘kid-tech’ market whilst looking at not-yet-released innovations like FiLIP and Kano.
For the younger audience, the Nabi is a child-proofed Android tablet with a robust manufacture and age appropriate educational apps, ‘Spinlets+ TV’ and classic games. It even incorporates a music store featuring family-friendly tunes only. When in ‘mummy/daddy’ mode you can view educational progress and even add a ‘chore list’ for the young user to follow. It is also simple to add and remove websites and videos from the Nabi via an easily accessible online account.
The appearance is sleek enough for junior-schoolers to use, as is the ability to play Angry Birds on it. The Nabi is seen as the premium child’s tablet and priced around £150.
Polaroid Kids Tablet 2 is similar to the Nabi in some ways. It features a 7” screen, Wi-Fi and runs on Android. It fairs less favourably when compared to the Nabi’s picture clarity, overall offering a lower spec. The appearance of the Polaroid version is also quite different, with a wider frame and bumpers making it look more like a child’s toy than the Nabi, which has an element of ‘grown up’ about it.
However, the Polaroid comes pre-installed with 25 books and apps from the likes of Disney, Cartoon Network and Marvel and, priced at around £80, appears to be pretty good value.
Moving into SmartWatch territory is FiLIP: ‘designed to keep kids and parents connected on any adventure’. The watch is still awaiting a UK release date and, when it is released, buyers will also need a monthly service plan. This is because FiLIP is capable of 2-way calling and messaging making it, in essence, a cute hands-free phone.
One potentially parent-delighting aspect is that FiLIP also comes with a GPS tracker. Parents will be able to locate their children’s whereabouts (or even set up ‘geo-fences’) using their own smartphone. Comforting or restricting? You decide.
Perhaps you are looking to buy a family-friendly PC? MiiPC is an innovative Kickstarter-funded device. Running on Android, MiiPC connects directly into a TV or computer monitor much like a standard PC, with the ability to watch videos, edit documents and play games, however the difference is in the running and the security. Parents are able to specify which sites and apps their children can access, and at what time via the convenience of the accompanying mobile app.
No more gaming during homework time, parents are reclaiming the power. If that’s what you’re hoping for, just ensure you pronounce it correctly – ‘mee-PC’.
Perfect for those interested in a career in computing as well as those who just enjoy building, Kano is certainly worth a mention. “A computer and coding kit for all ages, all over the world. Simple as Lego, powered by Pi. Make games, learn code, create the future.”
Judging by the innovative website that has already been set up, featuring simple but highly effective scroll-animation, this little DIY PC looks very promising.
Like MiiPC, this is a Kickstarter project. The creators believe that ‘everyone should be able to make a computer’. This blogger is participating in the crowd funding initiative and is very excited about seeing where this project goes.
And for those with fully-fledged teenagers and older, there is always the PS4 or Xbox debate. We’ll let The Guardian steer you through that one.
Catherine Howe is a Marketing Executive at Total Ltd – a business to business service provider, delivering genuine solutions across all core telecommunication services, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Total Ltd is a business that brings together and unifies all the component parts. For up to the minute business telecommunications news, please view the Total Ltd blog.