Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Android Devices for Kids Educational Use

What is the best device to get for a child's use? 

Tablet devices are a great technology for kids because the touch interface is less symbolic and takes a less dexterity to use. Very young children can use one, and navigate it proficiently.  The problem is that the devices are expensive, and somewhat fragile.

iPad's have the largest screen size, and have a better app selection than their Android counterparts, but they are more expensive.  It is hard for many parents to justify spending so much money on a device that will be used primarily by their child.

I read an interesting article that said 73% of Android users were male.  I think this is one telling reason for there being less kids apps on Android.  Mom's typically buy apps for kids, and very few mom's were using Android, so kids apps did not sell well.  However now Android has many tablets available, and the percentages are changing because more women tend to buy Kindles and Nooks than men. I think this kind of device availability could change the market for kids apps.

Android could become dominant, or at least on a more even playing field in the kids app market, for two reasons.  One they are cheaper, and two you can lock them down more easily.  There are already a few apps you can download, usually for free, that allow you to create a safe "sandbox" where you can choose what apps your child is allowed to play.  The sandbox app makes it so children cannot make purchases, it block advertisements, and block access to the web and app store.  As far as I know Apple does not give developers the access to create apps with these capabilities.

Alternatively there are numerous Android tablets that are being released, designed specifically for kids.  They even have their own markets available that are limited to only kid appropriate apps.  On one hand these devices sound great, but as there is an already somewhat limited selection of kids apps on Android, these restricted markets could limit the selection even more.  

Kindle Fires and Nooks are already being used by parents for kids.  These two devices already have fairly robust markets, and have special designated kids categories for apps, which makes app discovery easier.  I personally like the Nook for kids use, because they do not allow third party advertising in any of the apps they distribute.  While this does mean less free apps for customers, it also means that there is no risk of your child being subjected to ads, appropriate or otherwise.

What do you think?  Will more app developers migrate to Android, or will iOS remain where the money is?

Apps That Make Your Android Device Kid Safe
Kid Mode
Play Safe
Note: I have only used Kid Mode myself and cannot guarantee the quality of these apps. 

Android Devices Targeted Toward Kids
Nabi Tablet
Child Pad
Kurio Kids Tablet
Note: I have not used or seen any of these devices I just know that they are available or will soon be available.

These opinions are my own. The creators of these devices and/or apps have not contacted me.  However if you click on the links to Amazon and buy something, I will receive a small commission from Amazon.  

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