LeapFrog's latest tablet just couldn't wait to show off for the camera, making its on-screen debut over at the FCC's site a few weeks back. The kid-friendly tech company was finally ready to show the thing off for real this week, almost exactly a year after letting us take a look at the previous-generation device. The slate, naturally, maintains the kid-friendly software and rugged design that have become customary across LeapFrog's hardware offerings, while adding enough new features to let the company confidently refer to the LeapPad Ultra as "the ultimate kids learning tablet." Though they might be just a tad biased when it comes to such overarching statements.
The Ultra's got a 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 touchscreen display that works with a stylus to help kids learn to write with something other than their fingers (making it not too unlike the LeapReader in that respect). There are front- and rear-facing cameras for its built-in imaging programs and 8GB of storage for downloading some of the 800-plus LeapFrog-approved apps downloadable from the company's App Center (which wasn't ready to demo when we looked at the hardware). The choices include proprietary apps and selections from partners like Pixar and Sesame Street. The tablet's got all kinds of parental protection, including secure WiFi and a four-digit code for updating. And while there's an included chat app (Pet Chat), communication is limited to other LeapPads, using a limited number of canned responses.%Gallery-192214%
The LeapPad Ultra will run $150 when it hits on July 17th. It'll be available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland online at that date, with retail availability following the next month. In the fall, it'll be coming to even more locations, which can be found in the press release below.
LEAPFROG ANNOUNCES ULTIMATE LEARNING TABLET FOR KIDS, LEAPPAD ULTRA
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:LF), the leader in children's learning tablets, today announced the launch of the ultimate kids' learning tablet, LeapPad Ultra. The new LeapPad Ultra is kid-tough and works with LeapFrog's unique library of more than 800 life-changing content experiences designed or approved by LeapFrog's learning experts. LeapPad Ultra is kid-ready right out of the box with LeapSearch™ by Zui™, a proprietary kid-safe web browser that parents can trust. Unique to LeapPad Ultra, the seven-inch DUO TECH™ high-resolution screen is designed to help children learn to write using a stylus while supporting interactive touch experiences. Additionally, LeapPad Ultra features a sleek new look, a long-lasting rechargeable battery, and front and back cameras and video recorders plus 8 GB of storage for photos, apps, videos and more.
"For the past two years, our LeapPads have been the best-selling learning tablets for children across many countries and have won more than 25 prestigious awards, including the TIA's Educational Toy of the Year awards and 2013 People's Choice award," said John Barbour, chief executive officer at LeapFrog. "When parents select a tablet for their child, one of the key criteria is the availability of a wide variety of fun and engaging learning content. LeapFrog's educational content library of more than 800 games, apps, eBooks, videos, music and more has won numerous awards from parents, teachers and industry experts, and our cartridge content was the #1 selling toy at retail in the U.S. last year."
"LeapPad Ultra has been designed to offer a safe and age-appropriate experience vetted by LeapFrog's in-house learning experts," continues Barbour. "Children can explore and play on their own while parents feel confident that their children are learning and engaging in a kid-safe environment with games, activities, videos and more designed just for them. With more features, including Wi-Fi with a kid-safe browser, we believe that LeapPad Ultra will be the top item on children's wish lists this year."
Everything Moms Want and Everything Kids Love
With new intuitive parental tools including a four-digit security code, parents are in control of what their child is able to access, while the Wi-Fi allows them to directly sync content to their child's LeapPad Ultra. Parents can easily browse, purchase and download apps from LeapFrog's library of world-class learning games, apps, eBooks, videos, music and more.
With LeapPad Ultra, LeapFrog is launching LeapSearch powered by Zui, a secure and proprietary browser that lets children access and explore content they love in a closed environment that is easy to navigate. Children can use LeapSearch on their LeapPad Ultra to browse videos, images and sites from the web that have been reviewed and approved by LeapFrog's highly-experienced team of learning experts as kid-appropriate.
LeapPad Ultra also offers kid-safe peer-to-peer play across devices using Wi-Fi, when two or more LeapPad Ultra tablets connect locally. In Pet Pad Party, one of the new apps with this feature, children can communicate and play with their friends and siblings in a kid-safe environment with their own personalized pet avatars.
LeapPad Ultra comes with extensive free content: a music player with ten LeapFrog Learning Songs, Art Studio Ultra and Photo Fun Ultra apps, the newly improved popular Pet Pad app, the Pet Chat app, a Utility suite with calculator, notepad, calendar, voice memo and clock with stopwatch, as well as choice of an additional download from the LeapFrog App Center.
World-Class Learning Library
The LeapPad Ultra content library features more than 800 world-class games, apps, eBooks, videos, music and more that have been designed or approved by LeapFrog's learning experts. This robust library is a combination of LeapFrog's top-quality educational entertainment and engaging content from the biggest names in children's entertainment, and is built against a proprietary curriculum of 2,600 skills across math, reading, science, creativity and more. This year LeapFrog is launching many new exciting games with children's favorite characters, from Disney-Pixar's Monsters University to Sesame Street and Disney Jr.'s Doc McStuffins, in addition to new original LeapFrog properties such as the Get Ready for Kindergarten app series. LeapPad Ultra's library of world-class experiences offers children with unique personalized learning content.
Personalized Learning for Children
"Every child learns at a different pace which is why it is so important for children to receive personalized instruction in addition to what they receive in the classroom," said Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, leader of LeapFrog's Learning Team. "LeapFrog designs content to offer personalized instruction with profile-based curriculum starting points, auto-leveling, innovative hints and prompts, and milestones that provide children with the most appropriate experiences while keeping them engaged and having fun. Whether they are immersed in peer-to-peer play or exploring a create-your-own-adventure app, our content delivers life-changing learning experiences to support future academic and life success."
With a content library of more than 800 titles, a kid-safe LeapSearch web browser that offers children the ability to securely explore the internet, and a seven inch DUO TECH high-resolution touchscreen, LeapPad Ultra is the ultimate learning tablet for children.
LeapPad Ultra will be sold at MSRP $149.99 and is recommended for children 4 to 9 years old. Downloadable apps are priced at MSRP $5.00 and up and game cartridges at MSRP $24.99. LeapPad Ultra will be available for pre-sale at leapfrog.com and at major online retailers in the U.S., Canada, UK and Ireland beginning July 17 and available at major retail locations early August. LeapPad Ultra will also be available in select countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries later in the fall.