At CES last week, Polaroid showed off their own entry into the kids’ tablet market, with a 7” offering running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Don’t expect any instant photography – this is a Polaroid product in name only. The tablet was actually designed and manufactured by a company called Southern Telecom, which has licensed the Polaroid name for this tablet. It’s a solid effort, although it does fall short of competing tablets in at least one key way.
But first, the good – the tablet runs Android 4.0 out of the box and is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor, which puts it on the same level as other kids’ tablets like the Ematic FunTab. The 7” screen is a capacitive touchscreen with multitouch. An 800 x 480 resolution display, 512 MB of DDR3 RAM, 8 GB of storage (with an SD slot for more storage), and a 2 MP rear-facing camera round out the basic specs and features, which are impressive enough for the target audience, and put the tablet in the category of high-end kids’ tablets, if such a category can be said to exist. There are some glaring omissions, like the lack of a front-facing camera. That’s especially problematic for the device, considering there are cheaper kids’ tablets out there that do have one.
On the software side, the Polaroid kids’ tablet comes loaded with its own suite of creative apps for drawing, taking videos, and music. A couple of notable programs are Kids Vids, which features a filtered library of kid-friendly videos to watch, and Free Play, which finds all available free apps and games on the tablet-specific App Shop. A whole host of educational apps and children’s books, including Dr. Seuss and Smithsonian interactive books, will also be loaded onto the tablet, and kids will be able to access the Nook store for more reading material. As always, parents will want to be mindful of their payment details with that one – you probably won’t want to store your information on the tablet, or you might have a nasty surprise in store come bank statement time (but at least you’ll have a well-read kid). The web browser was designed by Maxthon, and provides a suite of parental controls and filtering options for kid-safe Internet surfing.
Like any kids’ tablet, the outer edges are soft and easy to grip, with rubber bumpers on the rear to protect against falls and drops. If you’re going to be letting especially young children use the tablet, you can also lock the screen. That way, if they’re watching a video or if you’re helping them through a storybook, you can prevent them for accidentally interrupting what’s happening on screen with an errant touch.
You can purchase the Polaroid kids’ tablet on Polaroid’s online store now, for about $150. It will be available in Kohl’s stores later this month.