We’ve been previewing the hottest new devices for library eBooks, including the iPad mini, Kindle Paperwhite, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight, and other new gadgets. Stay tuned for more device spotlights all month long! –Ed.
Tablets aren’t just for grown-ups. Arnova’s ChildPad, Fuhu’s Nabi, and Oregon Scientific’s MEEP! are all designed specifically for kids, with the concerns of parents in mind. These tablets fit smaller hands and can stand up to the kind of use—and abuse—that kids dish out.
All three tablets feature 7-inch screens with front cameras, run on Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and offer robust parental controls. All three have internal storage, with optional expansion slots for up to 32GB via microSD card. The Nabi features 8GB internal storage, while the MEEP! and Arnova ChildPad offer 4GB internal storage.
ChildPad and MEEP!
I recently had the chance to spend some time with these devices, and I can tell you they’re certainly kid-friendly. Of course, each has its pros and cons. Based on the consumer reviews I’ve seen, the ChildPad and MEEP are both fairly durable, but both seem to be plagued by buggy operation. The ChildPad navigates like a standard Android device and comes with a six-month trial subscription to parental controls. The MEEP! has possibly the best parental control options, allowing parents to monitor activity remotely and blocking access to the Google Play Store. However, navigating the MEEP! tends to be a little less intuitive, as the user relies on an on-screen wheel to select apps, etc.
From my experience, I’ve found that both devices will get the job done. Aside from games and apps, you can access eBooks and audiobooks on both tablets using OverDrive Media Console for Android.
The device that most impressed me was the Nabi. It does look a little strange, given the raised, plastic grid on the back—which lets kids personalize their devices with little decorative tiles called KINABIs—and the soft, rubber bumper around the edges that gives the corners a stretched look. This bumper is a protective feature that you can see in action in the “Drop Test” videos posted at the Nabi website. The Nabi comes loaded with an impressive array of educational apps. A chore calendar enables parents to assign values to tasks. By completing tasks, kids earn coins they can spend on games. Mommy mode lets parents create a list of acceptable sites the child can visit on the device’s browser. And, of course, the Nabi supports library eBooks and audiobooks via the OverDrive Media Console for Android app.
Justin Noszek is a Support Services Specialist at OverDrive.