Have you ever watched a young child with a tablet or smartphone? They seem to possess the innate ability to use any device effortlessly.
That's probably because they have grown up watching mom and dad, or they were taught at an early age to use one. The harsh reality of the situation is highlighted with the controversial baby chair complete with tablet holder sold by Fisher Price, causing early childhood development experts and children advocacy groups to start petitions against the seats.
If you followed along with the uproar, you might have seen the articles comparing the seat to those chairs in Wall-E, the DreamWorks animated movie. While most agree that babies require face-to-face stimulation and not that of a tablet, more agree that responsible tablet use for young kids is okay.
The key word: responsible. DreamWorks itself is looking to make this easier, teaming up with Fuhu, the makers of the kid-friendly Nabi tablet, to produce the Android-powered Dreamtab.
Introducing the Dreamtab
According to the New York Times, the Dreamtab will have an 8-inch screen with a price tag under $300. All content will be produced by DreamWorks itself instead of third-party companies, as is the case with other tablets on the market, and it will all be sent to the tablet automatically. There will be no need to install apps! Each app will relate in some way to a Dreamworks movie or character.
Nancy Bernstein, animation producer for DreamWorks, gave an example of what to expect content-wise. She is hard at work creating “character moments” for the device, where different DreamWorks characters will perform an action directly on the tablet, not in an app. For example, she said when a parent sets parental controls regarding how long a child can play, Shrek could come out and tell them they're done for the day. Kindle has the Free Time app, but no fun characters to tell kids it's time to shut it down!
Another neat feature of this tab will be appreciated by aspiring animators – DreamWorks animators will provide drawing lessons for users. The New York Times stated the exact stylus technology relied up on by DreamWorks animators will be available with the Dreamtab. And don't worry, it isn't just a tablet built to expose children to the DreamWorks brand, marketing their movies. The tablet features “parent mode,” which the company says is just as powerful as an iPad.
DreamWorks and Fuhu realize the potential of the Dreamtab far beyond the device itself. One idea is to introduce action figures representing characters that can interact with the tablet, unlocking games in Skylanders fashion. These types of games are incredibly popular with kids, and brings in a pretty penny. No word yet as to when to expect it.
The Dreamtab is slated to hit the market this spring, along with associated accessories – headphones, cases, and bumpers – all bearing the DreamWorks brand. They plan to offer a 12-inch version of the tablet at some point.