Thursday, September 17, 2015

The New Market of Tablets for Kids

As parenting evolves the use of tablets to entertain and pacify children has become a full blown trend. With this new market of kid friendly tablets there have been new marketing strategies specifically targeting kids. “While Apple’s App Store still features a wider selection of kids’ apps, Amazon has managed to get some of the bigger kids’ brands on board with FreeTime. For example, the service currently includes titles from Disney, LEGO, Nickelodeon, its own Amazon Studios, and beloved app maker Toca Boca, among others, and offers some favorites brands and characters like Frozen Storybook Deluxe, Star Wars Rebels, Dora the Explorer, and SpongeBob SquarePants” (Perez). With this Amazon has been a forerunner in the field of providing affordable tablets marketed exclusively towards children. While Apple has been another major player in this field the “Amazon tablets’ lower price points make them practically impulse buys that you can throw into your cart while shopping on its site for something else” (Perez). This trend of using technology to sooth and ideally educate children has therefore become popularized by the cheap cost and available products, while this can have great upside potential it also posses the risk of desocialization for children as they rely more fundamentally on technology to communicate and learn. Perhaps for this reason Apple seems to have adopted a different strategy and begun to refocus its efforts on the professional consumer rather than as a entertainment device or child’s toy. However this allowed “Amazon to play to its strengths with these new [low cost] hardware releases. Unlike Apple, which is catering to the high-end with professional-grade hardware like the new iPad Pro and its accompanying Pencil” (Perez). Now as amazon dominates the kids market  “the Fire Kids Edition [is] more of a no-brainer for parents looking to buy junior their first touchscreen computer” (Perez). But its only natural for Amazon to dominated as “the company has now dropped the price of the hardware to $99.99, which includes the kid-proof case along with the warranty and year of FreeTime Unlimited”. The tablet itself even has “decent hardware for a kids’ device, including a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, up to 128 GB of expandable storage via a microSD slot and access to Amazon’s app store” (Perez). At this price point and quality it is possible for most children to have access to a kid designed device. This leads me to wonder about the possible implications of mass technology implementation for children. Will this trend lead to increases in intelligence as time goes on or will it be the cause in a socially or otherwise impaired generation of children.

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