Looking for a telltale sign that tablets have shot right past mainstream and into over-saturation? Fix your focus a few pixels up, and you'll be staring at it. VTech has just pushed out its InnoPad, a learning tablet developed specifically for kids aged 4 to 104 (or 9, if you're concerned with "facts"). Boasting a 5-inch touchpanel, a tilt-sensor for gaming control, microphone and interfaces for USB, an SD card and a headphone jack, it's actually more like a MID than anything else. Of course, the "kid-tough" casing makes it far bulkier than most, but at least it's designed to take a licking (and keep on ticking). Contrary to conventional tablets, this one will rely primarily on learning cartridges, but there is support for digital downloads for those who'd rather sync it up with their Mac or PC and transfer things to a memory card. You've got a slew of options when it comes to software, and once your kid's done learning for the day, the InnoPad can double as an MP3 player, video player and datebook. It'll ship this fall for $79.99, with each title priced at $24.99. Something tells us this thing's got "iPad killer" written all over it. In Children's Doodle font, but hey...
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VTech® Debuts Tablet for Kids - InnoPad™

The Next Generation of Electronic Learning Toys Mimic Mom and Dad's Favorite Gadgets

CHICAGO, Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- VTech (www.vtechkids.com) knows that kids want the latest technology, while parents want to make sure the experience is age-appropriate and helps children learn. Award-winning smash hits like V.Smile™, V.Reader™ and MobiGo™ are just a few examples that prove VTech's global leadership for bringing innovative technology to electronic learning toys.

Last year saw the rise of the tablet as the latest consumer electronic technology trend, and in 2011 the demand for these portable phenomena shifts to kids and the toy industry.

With the new InnoPad, VTech brings to kids a cutting-edge, multi-function tablet. Interactive and animated reading, educational gaming and creative activities are offered through a cartridge library that features kids' favorite characters. Together with a rich collection of applications, InnoPad provides children aged 4-9 with abundant opportunities for development and fun.

"Tablet technology is immensely appealing and appropriate for young kids. It provides an ideal platform for this age," said Dr. Eric Klopfer, Director of the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, Director of The Education Arcade and VTech Advisory Council Member. "The InnoPad capitalizes on the features and applications of tablets, but adapts them in a way that makes it safe and appropriate for kids, while maintaining their fun and educational value."

The number of young children who have experienced some form of electronic learning continues to rise. According to a recent survey by Scholastic, 25% of kids as young as six have read a book on an electronic device(1).

"Anyone who has used a tablet device knows its greatest value is its versatility, especially the wide range of applications that provide a unique experience for the user," said Tom McClure, Director of Marketing for VTech Electronics North America. "Most parents would be hesitant to give their own gadgets to young children, however, VTech has taken that cutting-edge tablet technology and applied it to the InnoPad, which encourages early learning in a fun product that is just right for kids."

(1) Scholastic – "Kids and Family Reading Report," 2010

InnoPad

InnoPad is a multi-media educational tablet for children 4-9 that combines interactive and animated reading, learning games, creative activities and a rich collection of applications. It features a 5" brilliant color touch screen LCD, a tilt-sensor for game control, microphone, as well as interfaces for USB, SD card and a headphone jack, all housed in a sleek, kid-tough and compact design for easy portability.

* Interactive, Animated E-books


Stories come to life through interactive, animated e-books that offer story narration, character voices, animation, vivid graphics, sounds and music. Kids will learn and enjoy reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, word building, and interact with animated characters. As they read, kids will watch the words highlight and can touch individual words to hear them pronounced. Each e-book comes with a story dictionary offering word definitions that are easy for kids to comprehend and helps with the context of the story.

* Learning Games


Using the touch screen and tilt-sensor, kids can have hours of fun with learning games. They can control how they play, and develop the skills of using touch applications including tap, flick, pat and drag-and-drop so they can have the same technology and fun as parents do with their touch-screen devices. Using the tilt-sensor they can control the onscreen fun by turning, tilting and moving the tablet in different directions to manipulate the image on-screen.

* Creative Activities


InnoPad lets kids bring out their creative side with an Art Studio offering painting and drawing applications they can use with their fingers or the included stylus. It also provides a Photo Viewer/Editor.

* Feature-Rich Software Cartridges


InnoPad offers full-feature cartridges providing interactive e-books, learning games and creative activities. Kids can play and learn with their favorite characters, such as Toy Story, Dora the Explorer and Disney Princesses. This expanding library of cartridges starts with nine titles at launch, including:

* Disney/Pixar's Cars 2
* Disney Fairies
* Disney Princess
* Dora the Explorer
* Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
* The Penguins of Madagascar
* Scooby-Doo
* SpongeBob Squarepants
* Disney/Pixar's Toy Story


* Applications


Kids can maintain their multi-media lives with InnoPad's integrated MP3 player to listen to their favorite songs, as well as view videos with the Video Player. Other integrated applications include a Calculator, Calendar, Notepad, Clock with personalized voice alarm and Friends Address Book.

* Online Value

InnoPad easily connects to a PC or Mac computer via USB port and has an SD card slot for memory expansion so you can download interactive e-books and learning games from VTech's Learning Lodge Navigator (www.vtechkids.com/download). Over 100 download titles will be available by the end of the year. Parents can also use the Learning Lodge Navigator to stay abreast of their kids progress on a variety of educational milestones and lessons.

SRP InnoPad: $79.99. SRP Software Titles: $24.99

Ages 4-9 years old, available Fall 2011 at vtechkids.com, Target, Toys R'Us and Walmart

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VTech's InnoPad brings tablets to youngsters, floods their sponge-like brains with knowledge