I’m blogging this in secret, or at least out of sight from the babes. For once Ezra claps his eyes on a photo of this product I know he won’t let me rest.
Earlier this week, Babes about Town was invited to the press launch of a ‘global toy first’ by VTech at the Covent Garden hotel. Despite looters rampaging around town, and several bloggers cancelling, I felt safe enough to go as it was only a hop, skip and tube ride from home.
After being plied with tea and refreshments, we were ushered into a screening room for the presentation of their hot new gadget:
VTech is obviously very excited about the InnoTab and it’s no wonder. This is an extremely covetable toy for any parent who has had to wrestle their iPad – smeared with finger stains, snot and drool – away from their kids.
The InnoTab aimed at ages 4-9 (as with the iPad, I can guarantee my 2-year-old will use it like a pro) is a multimedia handheld tablet that’s a gaming device, an e-reader, an MP3 player, a photo viewer, a video player and an art studio.
The tablet is ready to play straight out of the box, with cracking inbuilt features such as educational games like Pinball Letters (teaches alphabet and words) and a fun interactive storytelling app ‘What’s That Noise?’
Other ebooks and a wide range of popular games from Toy Story, SpongeBob and more can be downloaded via the VTech Learning Lodge Navigator (there are parental controls on what a child can download) or bought as cartridges in store.
You can upload pics and videos direct from a VTech Kidizoom Camera/Camcorder or from a PC or SD card and the image quality is quite striking on the InnoTab’s large screen.
You can also sync music to the tablet from your PC (hey, you don’t even need iTunes!) via the USB cable or from an SD card, so you no longer have to clog up your own iPod with ‘banging choons’ from CBeebies etc.
We all got to play with the InnoTab (samples are being sent soon, woo hoo!) and I was impressed by details like the way the screen rotates and the fact you can use a stylus to spare the screen from dirty digits. I especially like the Calendar feature that has cute icons for marking important dates in the babes’ busy social diaries.
I must confess I wasn’t 100% gobsmacked at the unveiling of the InnoTab, as like many who went to CyberMummy, I’d already had a sneak peek at Leapfrog’s LeapPad Explorer, another tablet for kids coming soon. It will be interesting to see how both consoles stack up against each other.
Either way, what kid wouldn’t go nuts for this gadget?
As if we needed proof, the VTech team brought along some young ‘uns to demonstrate.
After the screening, I sat with Billy, aged 9, who took me through his favourite games (Penguin Icebreaker) and apps (Art Studio, he likes drawing a moustache on the photo of a cat).
So, I asked Billy, will this be top of his Christmas gift list?
‘Lego,’ Billy said, looking up with a glint in his eye. ‘It has to be Lego.’
VTech InnoTab is out in the UK in Sep 2011, available at all major toy retailers. Retail price around £80/€100, software around £25/€3