All Articles Tagged "tablets"

Dino Tales: A Learning App Kids And Parents Play Together

August 28th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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Nowadays kids know how to use apps better than some parents. Becoming accustomed to technology early can be a great thing if done in a balanced way because that is the direction that the world is flowing. And, if they are using educational fun apps, it’s even better. We took some time out to chat with the team from Kuato Studios who are the creators of Dino Tales and Safari Tales to find out the inspiration behind the learning app.

Mommynoire: Tell us a little about the app and how it works?

KUATO: In creating Dino Tales and Safari Tales, we set out to design games that would bring a new and engaging experience to reading. The child begins by naming and giving a gender to (in Dino Tales) a baby dinosaur, and (in Safari Tales) a baby elephant. As they enter the world of the each game, children are given a fun challenge to complete, such as reaching the top of the volcano or taking a trip down a river rapid. As they set off, they explore worlds that are rich in facts and fictions, and full of interesting activities; finding fossils, searching for colorful berries, making new friends…

Sounds like a lot of information for kids to handle…

Because children love asking questions, we decided to incorporate a learning buddy called Darwin in each game – a pterosaur in Dino Tales, and a meerkat in Safari Tales. When Darwin appears, children can use playful word wheels to form questions which Darwin answers in the cheery voice of a child. These word wheels are as much about word association and vocabulary enrichment as they are about interesting facts and Darwin’s often funny responses.

At the end of each play session, the length of which can be set by the parent in Parent Corner, the game generates a colorful storybook which is a record of that ‘day’s’ adventures.

Can these experiences be shared?

KUATO: The storybooks are designed to be shared with parents and loved ones, and encourage children to alter the descriptive captions that accompany the pictures. By playing with the adjectives, adverbs and verbs, children make their own language choices. In this way, we are encouraging young readers to see language as something playful, something they can create and change.

We want the child to be so excited by the game that they share and discuss the storybooks with family and friends; that they talk about the questions they posed to Darwin (and his answers); that they are motivated to read and research further.

What are some of the key features?

KUATO: For parents, there’s Parent Corner a secure environment controlled by a pin code, where parents can adjust the length of time children can play the game, set a reading age appropriate to the child, and receive email notifications when their child has created a new Tale.

There is also an option in Parent Corner to toggle the lock on/off, so that your child isn’t locked out the game. In Dino Tales, there are six baby dinosaurs to find and play with, and in Safari Tales, there are six baby safari animals.

As mentioned, Darwin is always on hand to answer pressing questions – sometimes factual, sometimes whimsical, always interesting. Fun features like the Berry Blaster allow children to go a bit wild in creating ‘looks’ for their dinosaurs and safari animals.

Most games are for kids only, but incorporating parents to create a personalized story is next level. What did you find in the research as far as coming up with this idea?

KUATO: Discovering the joy and value of reading is, or should be, an integral aspect of childhood, as oftentimes we see parents reading bedtime stories to their children to not only educate them, but also to foster bonding.

In many games, even educational games, there is little or no parental interaction – the tablet is simply used as an entertainment device with minimal parental or guardian involvement. The ability for parents to be alerted to the completion of a play session and then to sit down and read through the ‘tale’ / storybook together is a perfect way to reconnect and discuss what the child has achieved and learned. In this way, reports such as Family Time with Apps from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center speaks exactly to what Kuato aims to achieve with its games.

The games are also proving popular with schools too. Michelle Baldwin, an elementary school teacher in Boulder worked with her class to create a blog of their experience. “As a teacher, I loved that my students could customize their experience, including a setting for reading age.”

When Michelle asked her pupils what they enjoyed most about Dino Tales, the children responded:

“I like that I can ask Darwin questions.”
“I love finding new eggs and new dinosaur friends!”
“I like the stories we can make with our own dinosaurs.”

Do you have plans for more apps in the future?

KUATO: We do have some exciting collaborations and ideas in the works, but nothing we’re able to share just yet. Stay tuned! We hope that parents use these games as a way to connect with their children as they learn. As our world becomes more digitally focused and children become more tech-centric it’s a wonderful opportunity for parents to get involved in their kid’s learning development from a young age, in a whole new way.

As Its Smartphone Sales Stall, Can Samsung Take Advantage Of The Consumer Tablet Trend?

July 11th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Things aren’t looking too good over at Samsung. The tech giant recently announced its earnings and they were worse than many expected.

The Korean company’s operating income was $7.1 billion, a 24 percent drop on a year-over-year basis. And sales were down 10 percent. It has been a challenging year for the company as it struggles to take market share from Apple. It also have major competition from Chinese phone manufacturers and knock offs that sell much cheaper than Samsung’s typical $500 price tag but otherwise offer similar services, reports Business Insider.

One option for Samsung is to concentrate on its tablets. Tablets are hot products right now. In fact, they are expected to outsell PCs in 2015. Just in time, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S will hit the market July 12 and has already gotten great reviews.

According to technology research firm Gartner, worldwide tablet shipments (or units sold from manufacturers to retailers) will jump from 256 million in 2014 to nearly 321 million in 2015. Desktops and laptops will decrease from 276 million this year to under 262 million in next year. This development was actually predicted in 2010 by none other than late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who called the shift to tablets the “post-PC” era and compared desktops and laptops to trucks.

“We were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and then suburban centers, cars got more popular,” he said at the time. “PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around. They’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”

Emerging markets and consumer taste for lower-price devices are also pushing tablet growth, Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, told The Los Angeles Times. He says there will be an increase in tablets being sold for less than $100.

Atwal also predicts the move will be toward tablets with screens larger than four or five inches and the market for small-sized tablets will drop with the increased sales of smartphones.

“Now that you’re phone is getting bigger, you’re kind of replacing the activities of a 7-inch tablet,” Atwal told The Times by phone. “So now you might have a 6-inch screen phone and a 10-inch screen tablet. It’s an interesting mix and match of screen sizes.”

Dell Launches New Family Of “Damned S*xy” Tablets And Laptops

October 3rd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Former RHONY Jill Zarin at the #DellVenue pop up for the new devices. Getty Images for DELL

Former RHONY Jill Zarin at the #DellVenue pop up for the new devices. Getty Images for DELL

Dell has joined the competitive landscape occupied by Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft devices to unveil a new line of tablets and laptops. The company hopes to carve out a share of the market with selling points such as “thinnest, lightest, and most compact” and “highest resolution displays possible.” This comes at a time when Dell is in the process of a “privately-funded takeover,” notes Forbes. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t Dell’s first dip in the tablet pool.

“Damned s*xy” is how Rob Enderle, a technology analyst, described Dell’s new Venue tablets. Dell is pushing the four ultra-thin members of the new Venue family — Venue 7, Venue 8, Venue 8 Pro, and Venue 11 Pro — as the best options for on-the-go work-minded consumers. Ranging in price from $150 to $500, the Venue tablets claim users can create, share, and access content from virtually anywhere.

“All Dell Venue tablets are based on Intel processing power for speed, responsiveness, and battery efficiency,” Dell said in a statement.

Unfortunately for the company, Chris Velazco, a contributor at TechCrunch who has toyed around with the Venue 7 and 8, explained that he wasn’t wowed by the two tablets:

The biggest issue I noticed was a lack of sensitivity on some of the devices while I poked and prodded at their screens: it occasionally took multiple attempts to successfully bring up the App Launcher or return to the home screen. I suspect that’s all because of non-final hardware or software, but it was alarming enough that it managed to sour me on the experience a hair. 

Velazco also had issues with the Venues’ cameras. “Stick to your smartphone and you’ll be better off,” he said. “[The] images looked grainy and undersaturated.”

Engadget, on the other hand, had a more favorable take on it, praising the design and some of the enhanced performance details.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for DELL

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for DELL

Dell also has an updated XPS laptop line: According to Dell’s press release, the XPS 11 is “the thinnest, most compact 2-in-1 in the world” and the XPS 13 “has longer battery life for the mobile professional who values a sleek design” and the XPS 15 features “the highest resolution in its class.” The XPS 11, XPS 13, and XPS 15 all cost $999, $999, and $1,499 respectively.

J.R. Nelson, a contributor for Notebook Review who sampled the XPS line, seemed quite pleased with the laptops: “For a company who has never enjoyed critical success with its smartphone or tablet designs, it seems like Dell might finally be on to something that can make the marketplace sit up and take notice,” he said.

Dell’s Venue 7, Venue 8, Venue 8 Pro, and new XPS 15 will be available for purchase on October 18. As for the Venue 11 Pro, XPS 11 and the  XPS 13, they will be available sometime in November. To introduce the new devices, Dell hosted an event last night with guests including former Real Housewives of New York star Jill Zarin (top) and Chef Roble (below) in attendance.

Would you buy any of Dell’s tablets or laptops?

Has The iPad Met Its Match? The Latest Tablets from Amazon And Microsoft Unveiled

September 26th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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via @Surface

via @Surface

It’s that time of year: light peacoats, withering leaves, the crisp autumn air — oh and of course, new gizmos! This week, new-and-improved tablets were unveiled by Amazon and Microsoft. Gadget junkies found the technology from the former to be riveting. The latter? Not so much.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, gushed about the Amazon Kindle HDX which will be released in both 7-inch ($229) and 8.9-inch models ($379). The new tablets are touted to be thinner, sharper, and more colorful than its predecessors, ZDNet said. The difference between the two, besides dimension and cost, are the camera features: The “7-inch model lacks a rear camera [and] the 8.9-inch version comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash,” the site says.

The HDX tablets will be less costly than last year’s HD release. This time, Amazon will rely on gaining profit based on when people use the devices, not when people buy the devices. As Time explains, HDX tablets are premium products sold with non-premium prices so that consumers will spend on content for the devices.

Let’s get into the features behind the Kindle Fire HDX:

-Operating System: Fire OS 3.0; based on Android 4.3 and built by Amazon developers
-Speed:  On a Snapdragon 800 2.2Ghz processor, it’s three times faster than its predecessors; for graphic functions, it’s four times faster.
-Memory: Doubled to 2GB of RAM
-Battery Life: 11 hours, 10 more hours than previous generation. On a new power-efficient mode, reading e-books can last up to 17 hours.
-Visibility:  More lamination on the display for a better view at all angles. A new “real time” light sensor adjusts the screen based on current lighting conditions (outdoor or indoor)
-Customer Service: A new feature on the HDX, called “Mayday”, gives users access to a live 24/7 customer service rep in a small video window. “The helpers can explain new features or troubleshoot problems while guiding users with on-screen hand scribbles. They can even take control of the device from afar,” Fox News said.
-X-Ray Feature: If you are watching something on your HDX tablet, you can redirect it to your TV screen if you own a Samsung TV or Playstation 3/4. Also, if you’d like to know the name of a song playing on your TV, the X-Ray feature will determine this and even give the user the option of purchasing the song.

With its super-high resolution, critics are warning Apple that Amazon’s Kindle HDX might be the product to watch out for. If you’re still not convinced by the two HDXs, Amazon is also releasing a third tablet, a 7″ Kindle Fire HD with a rock bottom price of $139.

Now in constrast, the buzz surrounding Microsoft’s Surface 2 ($449) and Surface Pro 2 ($899) has been less than enthusiastic. Some critics even wonder if Microsoft is even trying at all: “Microsoft seems to have given up on competing with other tablets. It now sees itself as competing with PCs,” says Slateadding that, with their focus on professional uses, these  tablets are only for consumers who “hate fun.”

New features include “a redesigned integrated kickstand” which offers two angles: one for use on your lap and the other for use on a desk. Microsoft is also offering “200 gigabytes of SkyDrive storage for two years, and a year of Skype service that includes international calling,” according to TechCrunch.

Surface 2 doesn’t include a pen that can be used for PowerPoint presentations and PDF files. Also, the Surface Pro 2, the more business-y of the two, is considered more of a full-powered PC. It also comes in a full-powered PC price of $900.

The only unique feature within Microsoft’s tablets is embedded in the Surface 2: Microsoft claims you can run four Microsoft Office apps on one side of the screen while playing XBOX on the other side, according to Slate.

Buyers can pre-order the 7″ and 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX on Wednesday. Both will ship on Oct. 18 and Nov.7, respectively. The two Microsoft Surface models will be available by October 22.

Which would you purchase?

[h/t NBC News]

Sophisticated & Chic Tablet Totes

August 5th, 2013 - By Rich
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Tablets have become so popular that a whole new section of bags have been created around them — meet the tablet tote!

Kids Using More E-readers to Read

January 14th, 2013 - By Rich
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The New York Times‘ Media Decoder blog reported that a new study from Scholastic found children are using reading more and more on digital readers. Since 2006, Scholastic has been surveying parents and children ages 6 to 17 about reading habits. This most recent study found that the number of children using tablets and e-readers for their books has skyrocketed, with nearly twice as many children using them in 2012 than in 2010 (46 percent).

However, this doesn’t mean children are reading more across the board. In the same two-year period, fewer girls have reported being frequent readers (down to 36 percent from 42 percent in 2010). It seems using devices like iPads distracts kids from reading, letting them use social media when reading. Researchers say this means parents need to do a better job of managing kids’ screen time so kids keep their nose in books instead of getting distracted by their tablet’s other capabilities.  The good news that boys ages 9 to 17 say they’d read more books for pleasure if they had greater access to ebooks. And little bookworms say they like tablets and ereaders when they want to keep their reading secret, but overall still prefer paper books.

How do your children read books?

Tech Talk: Tablet Ownership on the Rise While Web Usage Levels Out

December 22nd, 2012 - By Kimberly Maul
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iStockphoto

Forrester’s 2012 State of Consumers and Technology Report came out this week, highlighting that nearly one-fifth of US consumers now own a tablet. In the US, 19 percent of consumers own at least one tablet, Engadget reported, which is about twice the percentage who said the same in 2011.

But while tablet ownership is up, the percentage of US adults that access the Internet at least once a month has stabilized at 79 percent. However, those consumers that do go online are more likely to do so on a daily basis. According to TechCrunch, Forrester found that 84 percent of US online adults use the Internet daily.

So who are the 21 percent of consumers who don’t go online, not even once a month? Naturally, it is older consumers. According to Forrester, “Gen Y” consumers are most likely to use their smartphone to go online, and the younger “Gen Z” consumers use the Internet wherever—more than 80 percent access the Internet outside the home.

However, consumers over the age of 67 are the slowest to adapt to new technology, though according to Forrester, 64 percent purchased a product or service online in the past three months. Also, about 20 percent of consumers ages 56 to 66 use mobile Internet regularly.

While the older consumers have larger hurdles to overcome when it comes to technology usage, the Forrester report shows the growth in various forms of digital tools, including tablets, digital cameras, connected TVs, and mobile Internet, have helped bridge that gap.

Tech Talk: For New Nook, Barnes & Noble Emphasizes Profiles and Sharing

November 9th, 2012 - By Kimberly Maul
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AP Photo/Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble introduced the ad campaign for the Nook HD and Nook HD+, the company’s 7- and 9-inch tablet and e-readers. The commercial, which will air across all major networks and is available on YouTube, highlights the ability to create separate profiles for each users, allowing an entire family to share the device—if you can steal it away from everyone else. Here’s the ad spot:

“We ultimately zeroed in on something we knew was important to our customers and unique to these devices: they are at once totally personal and completely shareable,” said Glenn Kaplan, creative director at Barnes & Noble, in a statement about the ad campaign. “We recognized the opportunity to create a story these customers could relate to.”

Mashable reports that the Profiles feature isn’t unique to Nook tablets—Amazon’s latest version of the Kindle Fire also has a similar feature—but Barnes & Noble was the first to offer such an ability.

Forrester Research predicted that there will be 29.4 million US  consumers with e-readers by 2015. Additionally, in February 2012, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 21% of all US adults had read an e-book in the past 12 months.

“Those who read e-books are more likely to be under age 50, have some college education, and live in households earning more than $50,000,” Pew noted in its report [PDF].

While this data is nearly 10 months old at this point, we can surmise that the number of adults owning e-readers and reading e-books has continued to rise. As individuals and families embrace the B&N Nook and other devices—no matter what feature they like the best—using tablets and e-readers for educational and pleasure reading will be a trend in 2013.

Do you own one? Is it on your holiday wish list?