The tablet PC market is full of some serious competitors. Amazon recently announced a variety of new Kindles it will be selling soon. Apple is expecting to make a long-awaited announcement this week, likely involving a new iPad. Samsung, Google, ASUS, and a few other companies also manufacture and sell tablets to consumers. Seems a bit crowded, right? How would a business break into the tablet market at this point? By offering something different, but focused.
A Tablet for Kids?
That’s exactly what Toys”R”Us today announced it will be doing. According to Lisa Ward at the San Jose Business Journal, “Toys”R”Us is expected to launch a tablet designed for children that will exclusively be sold in its stores.” Yes, you read that right. A toy store is releasing its own tablet computer.
At first I thought, “Hah! This is going to be a bad tablet and a failure.” But the more I thought about the idea, the more it made sense to me. Kids are a huge market. Toys”R”Us is a business designed to sell things to kids. (Well, it’s designed to get their parents to buy things for their kids.) Either way, the kid is essential to their business model. Their stores are designed to attract children, and they are generally fun places for kids to be. I can still remember getting very excited to go to Toys”R”Us.
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Details on the Tablet
There have been a handful of kid-friendly tablets released over the years, but nothing too special. This new Toys”R”Us tablet, named the Tabeo, appears to be not only designed for children, but also a relatively powerful tablet. According to Adrian Diaconescu at the popular Android Authority Blog, the Tabeo has “a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen … and [features] a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, Wi-Fi” and more. Plus, it runs on the Android OS.
The Tabeo will come with a variety of kid-friendly games, apps, and educational programs pre-installed. As Adrian Diaconescu adds, the Tabeo “comes with the usual pre-loaded parental controls software.” If Toys”R”Us can find a way to market this successfully to kids, it could be a very profitable offering for the company. Anything that can be shown to help a child in his or her education is often justified in a parent’s mind. Plus, the Tabeo isn’t going to break the bank either. It will be sold for $150.
The Tabeo – Only in Stores
One final interesting point about the Tabeo is where you will be able to purchase one. In today’s bustling ecommerce world, we can buy almost any product online from numerous sources. When the Tabeo is released in October though, the only place parents will be able to pick one up for their kids is in a Toys”R”Us store on the Toys”R”Us website. Lisa Ward said, the Tabeo ” will exclusively be sold in [Toys”R”Us] stores,” and that doing this “is an attempt to get around ‘showrooming.’”
Showrooming is what many savvy consumers like to do when they go shopping. If they find something they like, they will check online to find the same product, cheaper. For a retailer, this is terrible. You’ve basically just acted as free advertising for another vendor to take sales that could have been yours.
Will the Tabeo Work?
As I mentioned earlier, at first I was very skeptical of this whole idea. Most kid-friendly “computers” I have ever seen failed to impress. But I can see a lot of potential in the Tabeo. At the very least, the tablet is a great example of a company creating products focused on their audience. It will be interesting to see how selling the Tabeo only in Toys”R”Us stores, or on Toys”R”Us’ website, works out though.
With a solid promotion strategy, the Tabeo could be very successful. It has the physical capabilities a tablet needs. Plus, with new games and apps always on the way with the Android operating system, it could be something a kid would enjoy using for years. We’ll have to wait and see though.
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