I love the iPad, but it is not really suitable for young kids, because it requires an adult perspective on life to operate it correctly. For example, for a two year old, there is nothing more fun than figuring out how to make all the little icons dance, and once you do that, there is nothing more fun than making them disappear one by one by clicking on the little X's. The iPad would benefit greatly with a kiosk mode.
So, as Christmas comes and no matter what your culture or belief system you being to search for presents to give the little ones, you should know that there is a growing list of alternative tablets designed just for the little ones. They seem to all be about 7 inches of screen, have about 1 gig of RAM and various size hard drives, wireless, variable numbers of cameras from zero to one on each side. All of them seem to have bumpers and other self preservation devices. Some have extra durable screens that may perform less well than the iPad. Most have only moderate (but probably good enough) resolution. All or most are or probably will be under $200. They all seem to have wireless.
The brand new not yet available Tabeo Tablet for Kids will be available only from Toys R Us, possibly only from within the store itself. I suppose that is a way to get people into Toys R Us instead of Target or Walmarts for the other toy shopping. I twill run $150 and will have, supposedly, thousands of apps. It runs Android, but I'm not sure what restrictions exist on its operating system. Expect some, if there are such restrictions on purchasing it.
The Kurio Kids Tablet with Android 4.0 has a 7 inch screen (not sure how that is measured) and 4 gb of memory. It has a safety bumper, runs Android, and a microphone. There are front and rear facing cameras.
The Fuhu NABI NABI2-NV7A is another 7 incher, with bumpers, an 8 gig hard drive, but so far seems to have no camera (a future model may). This also runs Android. Among the various choices, this device has relatively high resolution (but this is not an iPad!).
The Android-running Archos Arnova Child Pad is also 7 inches, does not seem to have a hard drive, and has so far gotten mixed reviews.
The Android-running 7 inch NABI FUHUNABI-A has less RAM than the other choices, is getting mixed reviews, and seems a bit pricy.
I'm not going to mention the MEEP because it seems to have a choking hazard warning with it. Unnecessary. Bad.
Finally, the Lexibook Juniors tblet has gotten some god reviews and having come out months ago, has a lot of time to work out the bugs. It seems to come with a number of accessories such as a stylus and keyboard (I think these are purchased separately) Some details here.
In some, perhaps all, cases the Android system is modified to make it more kid friendly, but this may result in bumping the Android Market off the system because of Googley Rules that would apply.
If any one has any experience with any of these, please share!
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What would a two year old do with it? Paint? But surely paints and crayons teach you more about the physical properties of materials. Push virtual buttons? Real ones are more fun, and piano keyboards better still. Watch David Attenborough? Leave that to the tablet-using orang-utans. Read? Well, maybe in a few years.
Ian, I'll have Huxley get back to you on that!
The ToysRUs pads have gotten one huge comment from almost every reviewer I've seen: Don't buy them: underpowered, expensive, poor build quality
Don't know if these are of any interest, but mashable has a list of "top 5 apps kids should have"