Along with learning to walk and talk, American babies today are acquiring another skill: using a tablet computer. New research from MDG Advertising revealed that by the time they are four, 49 per cent of children in the U.S. have already used a smart device like a tablet. Companies are jumping on the trend and the competition for small hands is growing fierce.
The current industry leader is the LeapPad 2, a “kiddie tablet” with a 3.5-inch touchscreen on which junior can download apps, take pictures and watch videos. Last week the Toy Insider, a closely watched industry guide, ranked the LeapPad 2, priced at $110, one of the most wanted gifts this holiday season. Toys “R” Us said it will start selling its own Android-powered kiddie tablet this month, the Tabeo. Last week, Fuhu, which makes a rival tablet called the Nabi, said it is suing Toys “R” Us, accusing it of stealing trade secrets.
Bigger electronics firms also sense an opportunity. This year some Apple stores switched from marketing iMac computers at their kids’ tables to iPads. Following Amazon and Google, Apple is also rumoured to be releasing a mini-tablet in October, which at a smaller size and lower cost is expected to grab an even larger slice of the toddler market.