Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For those who have a kid, LeapFrog requires no introduction, but since a great deal of us haven’t spawned quite yet, I’ll proceed to say that LeapFrog makes educational toys, books, and games for children. And today with the announcement of its LeapPad tablet, the company has entered itself into the tablet arena, albeit having a kid-friendly spin. That’s right, all of you tablet-owning parents will soon have something to hand over to the children when they attempt to put their dirty mitts all over your precious iPad.

As far as specs are concerned, the LeapPad has 2GB of memory under its 5-inch 480×272 touchscreen. It comes with a camera, video recorder, microphone and stylus, and has a motion sensor for several games and learning activities.

Parents who already have LeapFrogs Leapster Explorer game cartridges and apps will be happy to know that it is all totally cross compatible with the LeapPad. Towards the end of the year, greater than 100 new learning game cartridges, books, apps and videos will be offered for the LeapPad, too.

What’s cool about this tablet is that it is intuitive enough to know when the user is being challenged. For instance, within every book on the LeapPad, there are three different versions of the text. If little Bobby or Susie is flying through the basic version of a story with relative ease, LeapPad can auto-adjust to a harder reading level while staying true to the initial story. The same is true of the various games and educational apps intended for the device.

Younger kids will be able to get a foundation in phonics, math, and spelling through the various LeapPad activities, and eventually move on to geography, world languages, music, science, and even life skills like brushing teeth. Since it includes a stylus, children can even get benefit their writing skills.

Pre-loaded apps include art, story, animation and photo studios. Within each, kids can make their own stories or artwork, and even learn how to animate familiar characters like Cinderella. When they’re finished with their own original work, proud parents can share their kids’ stories or pictures with relatives and friends through email or Facebook.

The LeapPad will be obtainable in both pink and green with a price tag of $99.99. It won’t hit shelves until August 15, but if you or your kid are super antsy, pre-sale begins in the U.S. and Canada tomorrow, July 29.