Polaroid’s struggles for relevance in a world of digital photography are well documented and largely unsuccessful; they filed for bankruptcy twice in ten years and the brand has changed hands several times. But they’re making some moves in 2013, including yesterday’s announcement of new retail spaces where customers can make prints of digital photos from their mobile devices, and today’s unveiling of a tablet for kids.
The idea of exposing kids to such powerful (and frequently antisocial) devices should give any parent pause, but Polaroid seems to have predicted precisely that. The so-called Internet Kids Tablet comes loaded with a number of educational programs that might aid in their development while they act like little adults, poking and prodding a small screen with a quiet frown.
Incorporating a Nook reader, the tablet comes with 10 books including titles from Dr. Seuss and the Smithsonian, and has access to Barnes & Noble’s Nook bookstore. It also features several top-rated learning apps, including Draw, Music Studio and Kids Cam. It also features Kids Vids, an app that streams video content to the device depending on the age-range of the user at the time.
The device uses a custom browser that allows the parent or caregiver to set controls that ensure children don’t find themselves in unsavory corners of the web. Running on a 1GHz processor and with 8 GB of memory (and 512 MB of RAM), this isn’t the most powerful machine available. But it really doesn’t need to be, and if your kid somehow has a massive library to upload, there’s a slot to expand memory. More important than the memory or processing power of the machine is the fact that the tablet is surrounded by integrated rubber bumpers that protect it from drops, throws and other collisions that could otherwise result from carelessness or temper tantrums. Polaroid also promises that it can withstand “all sorts of liquid accidents,” which sounds both politely euphemistic and very welcome for most parents.
The device is already available to order from Polaroid’s online store, for $149.99.