LeapFrog has announced an update to their handheld gaming device, called the LeapsterGS. The LeapsterGS, like the rest of LeapFrog’s products, are focused on providing an educational alternative to video gaming for younger children.
The LeapsterGS is thinner than the old model, called the Leapster Explorer, and features a motion sensor, a camera, and a video recorder. Those last two will be important for the many LeapFrog games and apps that use augmented reality. The LeapsterGS runs on a faster LF 2000 processor than its predecessor, and comes with 2 GB of internal memory. The LeapsterGS is now compatible with an internal battery pack with a charging cable, but that set is disappointingly sold separately.
The LeapsterGS only plays apps and games from LeapFrog, all of which are focused on advancing education for young children. Videos and eBooks can also be used on the LeapsterGS, but only those from the LeapFrog library. Games come from apps or cartridges – apps are at least $5 each, while game cartridges are $25 each. It has to be noted that, considering the low resolution of the LeapsterGS relative to other mobile media players, those prices are not very competitive, especially when held up against the price of educational apps on the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
That said, the premium could be worth it if you need a walled-in, safe-for-kids device that can only access what you put onto it yourself, from a very limited library directly from LeapFrog. The LeapsterGS will sell for $69.99 when it sees release. Pre-orders for the LeapsterGS begin on July 18th.