‘StarCraft’ gets the cartoon makeover nobody asked for

When you think of kid-friendly video games, StarCraft might not top the list. But that could change. A new version, StarCraft: Cartooned, reimagines every unit, structure, map, menu and mission with art by CarBot Animations. The usually dark game is...

The best streaming services for kids (that aren’t YouTube)

Among the various choices, Cartoon Network is solid option for kid-friendly streaming. While you may need a cable subscription for complete access, there are some full episodes of nostalgia-inducing classics like Powerpuff Girls available as well as...

Hands-on with MiiPC, the $99 kid-safe Android PC (video)

Handson with MiiPC, the $99 kidsafe Android PC video

It was only two days ago that ZeroDesktop launched MiiPC, a $99 kid-safe Android PC, and the Kickstarter campaign's already surpassed its $50,000 goal. To jog your memory, MiiPC is an attractive 4.7 x 4.7 x 3.1-inch desktop computer running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). It's powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Marvell New Armada SoC with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of flash storage, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. The system features an SD card slot in front, a power button on top and a full array of ports in the back, including two USB 2.0, HDMI, analog audio I/O, Ethernet and power.

What makes this device so unique is the software, which is optimized for use with a large screen (up to 1080p), keyboard and mouse. It provides a desktop-class web browsing experience with Flash and runs standard Android apps. MiiPC supports multiple user accounts which can be controlled and monitored remotely in real-time using a companion app for iOS and Android. The idea is for parents to create a safe online environment for their kids by managing their access to the web and to apps. We got the chance to play with a prototype MiiPC yesterday -- read our impressions and watch out hands-on video after the break.

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OLPC XO-4 debuts at CES, launch details coming this week (hands-on)

Marvel trots out OLPC 4.0 at CES, launch details coming this week (hands-on)

Details of OLPC XO-4's release and price won't be revealed until later this week, according to Marvell, but the company was happy to let this editor smudge the laptop with his fingerprints. It's not the fastest machine imaginable, but it switched between screens and loaded content snappily with its Marvell-made 1.2Ghz dual-core ARM processor. A slight hint of choppiness appears when scrolling through lists, but the hardware is definitely useable and doesn't aggravate. The unit on display didn't have an internet connection, but Marvell was happy to point out that their hardware provides the laptop support for 802.11n, as opposed to only 802.11b/g.

The pint-sized laptop isn't the sleekest or most compact device we've laid hands on, but it feels sturdy enough to survive abuse thrown its way from drops and temper tantrums. Its infrared touchscreen -- which is optimized for small fingers -- can be used in conjunction with the small keyboard, or swiveled around and laid on its back to transform the device into a chunky tablet. Odds are that fully grown hands won't be comfortable with the kid-friendly keyboard. The OLPC 4.0 performed admirably during our brief stint with it, but you can look forward to more impressions when we eventually put it through our review gauntlet. In the meantime, hit the neighboring gallery for hands-on shots of the machine.

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Ematic outs 7-inch FunTab Pro with ICS and a Zoodles mode for kids, available for $150

Ematic outs 7inch FunTab Pro with ICS and a Zoodles mode for kids, available for $150

Even though the market's currently populated with slabs such as Archos' ChildPad or LeapFrog's LeaPad 2, the race to become the go-to child-friendly tablet could still be considered as wide open. Having previously introduced its FunTab for kids, Ematic's not exactly a newcomer to this territory, and this time out the company's looking to build on that with the announcement of a slightly more powerful "Pro" model. Inside the 7-inch, 800 x 480 FunTab Pro, parents and children alike will find an undisclosed 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, a taste of Google's Ice Cream Sandwich and 8GB of onboard storage which can be expanded up to 32GB by way of microSD. Additionally, Ematic's placing emphasis on the built-in Zoodles features that "create a safe and educational online learning experience for children," plus the inclusion of pre-loaded apps like Skitch, School Assistant, Cut The Rope and none other than Angry Birds. The FunTab Pro will be available at Walmart (and other retailers) for $150 -- and, yes, that includes the colorful, interchangeable faceplates you see in the gallery below.

Continue reading Ematic outs 7-inch FunTab Pro with ICS and a Zoodles mode for kids, available for $150

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Ematic outs 7-inch FunTab Pro with ICS and a Zoodles mode for kids, available for $150 originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 08 Oct 2012 21:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oregon Scientific MEEP! tablet ships for $150, gives kids a safe, exclamation-filled place to play

Oregon Scientific MEEP! tablet ships for $150, gives kids a safe, exclamationfilled place to play

For all the enthusiasm Oregon Scientific put into launching (and naming) its MEEP! tablet, the company has been a bit timid about getting the kid-friendly Android device into the market -- we're just seeing it go on sale eight months after it was first shown to the world. Now that the slate is here, it may be worth the patience from parents. The 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 chip, 512MB of RAM, 800 x 480 screen and 4GB of storage won't have the adults regretting their Kindle Fire purchases, but the MEEP! does come in a smash-resistant form with remote parental control and an allowance-based store that lets kids 'buy' apps with virtual coins. Oregon helps its case through the use of Ice Cream Sandwich, preloaded games like Angry Birds and a raft of accessories for games and music. The $150 asking price is just low enough that we can see a few families starting their youngest technophiles on a MEEP! before graduating them to bigger, badder tablets with less punctuation in the name.

Continue reading Oregon Scientific MEEP! tablet ships for $150, gives kids a safe, exclamation-filled place to play

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Oregon Scientific MEEP! tablet ships for $150, gives kids a safe, exclamation-filled place to play originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 02 Oct 2012 21:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Netflix Just for Kids comes to iPad, keeps Dora exploring beyond the TV (video)

Netflix Just for Kids comes to iPad, keeps Dora exploring beyond the TV video

Netflix's Just for Kids portal may already be a parent's ticket to saving money on endless Dora the Explorer DVDs without keeping a constant watch on the screen, but it has so far been left to consoles and the web. That's not much help to movie-loving grownups who'd sometimes like to free the PC or TV for their own streaming sessions -- so it's likely a relief to many that the Just for Kids interface is now available on iPads. Like on bigger screens, the mobile app provides a safe zone for the under-12 set that organizes videos into sections that junior viewers will more likely appreciate, such as sing-alongs and talking animals. For now, Android tablet owners and those holding on to first-generation iPads will be left out. It still shouldn't be too long before more adults can be sure their mobile-savvy kids are watching Curious George instead of Chasing Amy.

Continue reading Netflix Just for Kids comes to iPad, keeps Dora exploring beyond the TV (video)

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Netflix Just for Kids comes to iPad, keeps Dora exploring beyond the TV (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 01 Oct 2012 11:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toys R Us 7-inch Tabeo kids tablet coming in October for $150

Toys r us Tabeo

Toys R Us has posted a listing for a new 7-inch child's Android slate priced at $150 called the Tabeo, saying it will go on sale October 1st in stores only. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company will announce more details later today, but pictures on the site indicate it will be more conventional in design style and not as "kiddified" as the toy store's previous offering, the Nabi. Technical specs include a 1GHz processor, 4GB of built-in storage, upgradeable to 32GB, HDMI-out, 50 pre-loaded apps and -- brace for it -- it's own native app store offering around 6,000 more. That might mean it's aimed at older kids than the previous tab's six-year old and up target, but it better have some killer features for the younger set -- it's up against a spate of similar products that have already hit shelves.

Update: This looks very much like an Archos Child Pad with different colors and $20 added to the asking price. Thanks all who spotted the similarity.

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Toys R Us 7-inch Tabeo kids tablet coming in October for $150 originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 10 Sep 2012 01:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LeapFrog’s child-friendly LeapPad 2 goes on sale for $100, is ready for sticky fingers

LeapFrog's child-friendly LeapPad 2 goes on sale for $100, is ready for sticky fingers

You might've already checked out our hands-on time with LeapFrog's next-gen LeapPad, but starting today, now you can finally get your own palms on the kid-friendly slate. The company -- who's also introduced us to the Explorer -- has announced its LeapPad 2 is now up for grabs at an array of online and brick-and-mortar shops, such as Target, Best Buy, Kmart, Amazon and, naturally, its very own site. Now, the $100 LeapPad 2 isn't anywhere near the same class as Mountain View's $200 Nexus 7, though for obvious reasons, as it's targeted at a completely different audience. In other words, those 100 bucks might just be enough to keep kids away from your precious every-day tablet. We'll let you decide that, however.

Continue reading LeapFrog's child-friendly LeapPad 2 goes on sale for $100, is ready for sticky fingers

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LeapFrog's child-friendly LeapPad 2 goes on sale for $100, is ready for sticky fingers originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 18 Aug 2012 05:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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