Archos has unveiled a new kid-friendly Android tablet that lacks clever branding, but makes up for it in affordability and accessibility. Dubbed "Child Pad," the 7-incher will fetch $129 when it ships later this month -- a price that should make it among the least expensive mainstream slates available. The device should be cheap enough that you're not concerned about a youngster breaking it, yet fast enough that they won't want to.
Based on the pictures and specifications we've seen, the Child Pad seems like it could be a scaled down version of last year's Archos 70b Honeycomb tablet. It features a 7-inch display, presumably with the 70b's 1024x600 resolution and capacitive multitouch (unconfirmed as of writing). It also has 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz processor, though the exact system-on-a-chip remains unknown, as does the tablet's storage configuration.
Although the exterior shell looks childish, it doesn't seem like Archos put any additional work into ruggedization (or at least it failed to say so in the press release). However, the company notes that the Child Pad is compliant with CIPA and COPPA regulations via parental controls and safe Web browsing provided by Editions Profil, whose "Mobile Parental Filter" is highly regarded as the "most efficient" parental control software.
The company has customized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich so it's easier for children to use. Apps are supplied through an AppsLib-based store that filters unsavory software. Archos also tweaked Android's user interface with colored icons and home screen folders with direct access to games as well as other entertainment and learning apps. The device comes preloaded with Angry Birds, Pig Rush and Flight Frenzy.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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