Toys R Us Unveils $150 Tablet for Kids

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Julianne Pepitone,CNNMoney, Reporting

NEW YORK — If the idea of handing a child your expensive iPad makes you nervous, Toys R Us is now selling a tablet that’s built just for kids.

The Tabeo, which features a 7-inch screen and a Wi-Fi connection, will be available at Toys R Us stores starting October 21. The $149.99 tablet is also available for online pre-order starting Monday.

The tablet comes pre-loaded with 50 child-friendly apps, and an additional 7,000 free apps are available to download. It runs on the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, dubbed “Ice Cream Sandwich.”

The device is wrapped in a soft “bumper” to protect the hardware if it falls out of a child’s slippery fingers. It also includes extra controls in the device’s built-in browser. For example, parents can set different Internet safety controls for up to eight users, either by blocking certain categories of content or disallowing access to specific sites. The Tabeo can also be set to allow Internet access only on certain days or during certain hours.

If a sneakier child accesses the Internet through a browser other than the Tabeo’s built-in one, parents can choose to receive an email alert.

The Tabeo joins a handful of other tablets aimed at children, including VTech’s InnoTab, Meep from Oregon Scientific, the Nabi and LeapFrog’s LeapPad.

It’s also the latest in a new crop of 7-inch tablets. Amazon announced two different 7-inch versions of its Kindle Fire tablet last week, and Google began shipping its Nexus 7 earlier this summer. Apple is expected to unveil its own 7-inch iPad Mini in October.