Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.
The Kineo Tablet is an 8-inch 1.3 GHz dual-core tablet aimed at schools that starts at $299. It comes from a company, Brainchild, that has been around in the educational space for two decades. According to Tim Kimbrell, a rep at Brainchild, it actually developed the first portable tutoring device back in 1993. That allows the Kineo to work well with a school's other assessment and instructional software, says Kimbrell, while offering consumer features like curated access to Google Play app store. The use of replacable Li-Ion batteries means that the Kineo can outlast other tablets, too. Brainchild says the Kineo and its predecessors have been used by hundreds of schools and districts over the years, though the company declined to reveal any names to me.
(Check out my other Gallery:
The Intel StudyBook is a 7-inch tablet that uses a power-sipping single-core Intel Atom Z650 chipset and runs either Windows or Android (Honeycomb 3.0) on top.
The StudyBook will start for less than $200, a price point aimed not at besting the iPad but at competing with the One Laptop Per Child project for the hearts and minds of, not parents, but schools, especially those in the Third World.
Speaking of the OLPC, the non-profit is introducing the XO-3, an 8-inch Android/Linux based tablet that uses an Armada 610 system-on-chip - essentially an ARM v7 chip running at 800 MHz. No speed demon, but OLPC's hardware never is. Rather, the XO-3's goodies are in the area of power - it can be charged via a hand crank or optional solar panel - and display - the Pixel Qi sunlight-readable screen.
The newish MEEP tablet is from Oregon Scientific, which I know best as a maker of fancy thermometers. The Portland company is pitching the MEEP as having all of the kid-friendly touches of the LeapPad and InnoTab (ruggedized plastic case, parental controls, curated MEEP app store) but with grown-up features (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 7-inch screen, 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, 512 MB RAM, streaming video to TV via HDMI slot).
Reviews of the MEEP are neutral to positive. Parents whose kids have outgrown the kiddie tablets but don't trust them with their family iPad might find the MEEP a good deal, especially if Oregon Scientific can deliver a good, inexpensive app store. But the two tablets I'm really excited about lurk later on this slideshow.
Another $150 tablet aimed at upscaling the child device category dominated by LeapFrog and VTech, the Tabeo is a 7-inch Android 4.0 ICS tablet. Coming from Toys R Us, it has an impressive 4 GB of RAM and built-in Wi-Fi. More impressive is the Tabeo's apps: included for free are Angry Birds Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope, among others, as well as access to a curated app store, which includes 7,000 free apps and thousands available for purchase.
Most impressive to me is the feature that lets parents set limits on the amount of time their kids can play the device every day or week. That's a feature I would love to have on my iPad.
On the other hand, its 1 GHZ single-core ARM chipset and 800x480 screen are unexciting, especially compared to the Fuhi Nabi, which I describe later.
(Note: its former partner, over the release of the Tabeo.)
The ChildPad is another 7-inch Android 4.0 ICS tablet that predates some of the others by a few months. It was originally marketed by Archos, but now seems to have been taken over by Arnova instead. Besides sporting a 1 GHz ARM A8 chip, 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of storage and a capacitive touchscreen (latest version only), the Child Pad's main merits is its $139 price tag, or $20 less than the MEEP and Tabeo.
The Kurio comes courtesy of Techno Source, a division of the $20-billion-a-year Hong Kong conglomerate, Li & Fung. It was introduced several months ago, and, like the MEEP, Child Pad and Tabeo, runs Android 4.0 ICS on a 1 GHz single-core ARM processor with 4 GB of storage and 7-inch screen.
Like the coming Tabeo, the $149 Kurio lets parents control how much time they kids can play, as well as filter out adult content. Reviews of the Kurio are mixed. PC Advisor lamented the quality of the Kurio's 800-x480 screen, while PC Magazine called it a Kindle Fire for kids. The Kurio has pretty good reviews at, ironically, Toys R Us.
Coming soon: a 10-inch version of the Kurio.
To be available in the US in mid-September, the Lexibook comes from a French-Hong Kong firm that has been selling its (150 pounds) $237 tablet in Europe for some time. If Engadget is right, the specs sound awfully weak, especially for the price: 600 MHz ARM CPU, 256 MB RAM, 4 GB storage, Android 2.2 Froyo. Might as well fly to India and . Perhaps the Lexibook's parental controls, user interface and included educational apps and games will make up for that, but I'm not optimistic.
Fuhu is a Los Angeles-area VC-funded startup that has, on specs and Web marketing alone, the most exciting kid tablet out now. The just-released Nabi 2 is basically a Google Nexus 7, down to its $199 price. The Tegra 3-based hardware spanks most of the other competitors out there. What the Nabi does come with is the obligatory orange rubber case, parental controls, and a bunch of pre-loaded games and educational apps as well as videos and songs which Wired's reviewer (and his 4-year-old son) loved.
Tabeo, Kurio, Nabi and now the Kuno: what's with all of the tablets that sound like sushi restaurants? Seriously, the Kuno 3 is a 10-inch tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich on top of a 1.2 GHz ARM A8 chip, 1 GB RAM, and 16 GB of storage. And it costs about $500 to schools.
So what makes the Kuno stand out? Apparently, the CurriculumLoft software from the Indianapolis company of the same name that makes the Kuno. CurriculumLoft helps teachers manage their classrooms, and helps the school's techies manage the Kuno tablets.
That combination has helped the Kuno get deployed by a number of districts. Martin Elementary in Illinois is rolling out 1,200 Kunos, while San Felipe Del Rio District in Texas is rolling out 1,600 Kunos. See , to see a number of others.
I plan to interview the executives of Kuno on Thursday, Sept. 13, so if you have any questions, please tweet them to me at @ericylai or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The VINCI Tab II M is a new $169, 5-inch tablet from a company, Rullingnet Corp. that released its first 7-inch version a year ago. The smaller size makes it suitable for toddlers as young as 18 months - indeed, the company is jumping into the market for training baby geniuses once dominated by Disney's Baby Einstein DVDs.
There are over 500 apps and e-books available to kids. Globally-minded parents will love that the VINCI curriculum apps can be set to work in French, Spanish and Chinese in addition to English. The company is also trying to woo app and content developers by promising a 75% revenue share.
Technical specs for the VINCI include Android 2.3, 800x480 screen, 1.2 GHz Cortex A8 processor and 8 GB of storage. So no quad-core Tegra 3 under the hood, like the Google Nexus or Fuhu Nabi.