Tyke tech: PeeWee PC upgrades its kid-friendly laptop for deep-pocketed parents

Any parent knows that his or her kids flock to computers like moths to a flame. That means greasy fingerprints, scratched screens, and various "oopsies" that put your laptop in constant jeopardy.

Any parent knows that his or her kids flock to computers like moths to a flame. That means greasy fingerprints, scratched screens, and various "oopsies" that put your laptop in constant jeopardy. PeeWee PC is one in a long line of companies that has attempted to make kid-friendly computers that can stand up to the jostling that children can give a system, especially notebooks. The company has just upgraded its flagship Power portable to what it calls version 2.0.

As you might imagine, the Power 2.0 laptop is more about a safe experience -- for the hardware as well as the children -- rather than blazing specs. It has basic netbook features, like an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, 30GB hard drive, SD/MMC memory card slot, built-in Wi-Fi and Webcam, and 8.9-inch LED-backlit screen. It runs Windows 7, includes Microsoft Works productivity apps, and comes with a suite of 15 educational games along with PeeWee Patrol and PeeWee Privacy, a pair of security programs that limit and monitor kids' Web surfing activities.

What you're paying a premium for -- and, at $449.99, you are shelling out more than for a typical netbook -- are the things PeeWee does to kid-proof the system. These include a sturdy plastic case that is drop-resistant up to roughly 20 inches as well as a waterproof keyboard.

If your child has caught the tablet craze, Pee Wee also has a convertible touch-screen notebook called the Pivot 2.0, based on the Intel classmate PC. At $549, it's even pricier than the Power 2.0, though it costs about the same as having to replace an iPad if one of your youngsters ruins yours.

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