Posted by Renee Schmidt

New touchscreen Android devices designed exclusively for kids with bright colors, rugged cases and no slip grip are overtaking the kiddy phablets market with new releases like Toys R Us’ Tabeo.

Tablets are certainly the hot-ticket item, with Apple projecting over 62 million in iPad sales this last year. But while some parents are only too happy to share their $500-plus tablets with the kids (or even buy the kiddos iPads of their own), some are opting instead to get a tablet designed specifically for their wee ones’ tiny fingers and eager minds.

According to studies of 4,750 adults, 20 percent of tablet-owning parents with kids 6 and under say they let them use their tablet.  That number rises to 29 percent among parents with kids older than six and the gadgets ranked highly on kids’ gotta-have list this holiday season.

Kids love tablets, but use them a little differently than we do. Kids use the devices to read, play educational games, watch movies and entertain themselves in any number of ways, either at home or on the go. Of course, kids also have a tendency to be a little less careful with the devices than their parents do, and they don’t necessarily want or need all of the features, functionalities and, frankly, freedoms that adults want and need from tablets; meaning a unique market has emerged.

Boasting a core Android slate, the Tabeo features a 7-inch, non-HD resolution LCD display and while chunky and plastic, ringed by a bumper of rubber, the Tabeo provides a safer virtual environment for kids and sports a lower price point.

Spotting a trend a while back, Toys R Us found kids wanted to play music, surf the internet, play games and watch movies all on their parent’s device. This still left durability as a concern, especially for parents who share their tablets with young children. With the iPad being such an expensive toy to break, the company needed to fill the gap between the low end LeapPad and high end Tablet market.

The Tabeo is priced just under $200, the device features kid geared apps, games focusing on reading and writing, and just like other full-functioning devices, it updates regularly. With Android underpinnings, this kids-only tablet does have the potential to stay updated with the latest apps and OS upgrades unlike the phablets before them.

The Toys “R” Us’ Tabeo tablet, for example, is preloaded with 50 kid-friendly apps and has a curated app store of 7,000 more, a mix of top-rated bestsellers, selections from trusted publishers and developers, and others approved by a team that reviews all content in the store. Toys “R” Us has had great success in terms of high demand with its Tabeo tablet, beginning with pre-orders back in September 2012. They’ve even since had to go back and produce more because of high demand.

While some parents might find it difficult to replace the beloved iPad when their child has already been introduced, the Tabeo will act as a great introductory tablet for parents nervous to hand over expensive technology to young kids.

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