LeapFrog debuts $99 app-ready tablet for primary schoolers

LeapFrog Enterprises unveiled the $99 LeapPad, an iPad-like educational device for children ages 4 to 9.

Educational toymaker LeapFrog Enterprises announced on Wednesday a $99 tablet called the "LeapPad," deliberately positioned as a child's version of an Apple iPad.

Like its adult counterpart, the LeapPad supports downloadable apps (at $5 each) but also supports $25 game cartridges. It's intended for children ages 4 to 9.

From a technical perspective, the device as 2 gigabytes of memory, a five-inch (480x272) touchscreen, a built-in camera, video recorder, microphone and "animation studio," where kids can learn how to animate Disney characters.

It also comes with a child-sized (and hopefully blunt) stylus. It's available in either green or pink.

It will count more than 100 learning-game cartridges, books, applications and videos by year's end, the company says, on topics as diverse as phonics skills, mathematics, spelling, geography, world languages, music, creativity, science and "life skills" such as brushing one's teeth.

The LeapPad will appear on Wal-Mart and Amazon store shelves (U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland; Australia and New Zealand to follow) on August 15.