For those of us who were kids during the late 90’s, the computer was a pretty fascinating device, but it didn’t really play too much of a role in our lives. It was there when the first videos were around and when most of us had to wait roughly ten minutes for our dreaded dial-up internet to finish loading something. However, computer usage is playing an ever growing role in young people’s lives, both at home and at school. Hell, there are plenty of eight year olds out there who are more computer savvy than some adults. However, some kid-friendly computer programs are still a good tool for helping to get children acclimated to computer usage while maintaining some parental control.
Fortunately for parents, PeeWee PC is there to help them. PeeWee PC makes notebooks and desktops geared towards children. They now offer the PeeWee kit, which is children’s software on a 4GB USB stick. The USB stick essentially helps bring kid friendly programming to netbooks.
The PeeWee kit includes games and software for education. There is also a tool that allows parents to monitor how long their kids are on the computer and what they’re doing on it. The Kit is available on the flash drive $30 and on CD for $20.
As computers play a growing role in the everyday lives of students in the classroom, many school districts are interested in purchasing relatively cheap and portable alternatives. Enter the “kiddie netbook.”
One such netbook that was recently released is the Dell Latitude 2100. This particular netbook has quickly grown in popularity since its release a little over a month ago.
Although it’s small in size (after all, it’s a netbook) it’s already having a relatively big impact. According to Yahoo News, “more than 500 U.S. school districts have purchased the Latitude 2100.”
Netbooks like the Latitude 2100 allow students to do their work on-the-go and provide many more opportunities for hands-on learning without wasting bootup/setup time or traveling time to and from a computer lab.
As a result of the growing popularity, Dell (and the other existing kiddie netbook manufacturers) are sure to have competitors in the near future.
As competitors come out with new netbooks, we’ll have the latest updates, so make sure to check back often to see which companies will be next to enter this segment of the netbook market.
Image via Islabit.
Even Disney wants in on netbooks now, and is reportedly teaming up with ASUS for the branded and kid-friendly Netpal netbook. It’s cheaper than other kiddie netbooks at $350, and has a few other distinct advantages as well.
It has an 8.9-inch display and Intel Atom processor. Though it doesn’t seem to be as rugged as a Dell Latitude 2100 (nor as germophobically oriented), it targets a similar group – kids aged 6-12. Colors include Princess Pink or Magic Blue, which are designed with flowers or Mickey Mouse icons respectively. Their kid-friendly interface is layered onto Windows XP and comes with a few customizeable themes based on movies like Cars, Toy Story, and Wall-E .
Parents should be pleased to find out that the Magic Desktop’s gadget tray includes parental control software in addition to a Disney browser and email. There’s a Radio Disney widget in there for streaming music, and kids can use its memo pad, a calculator, and a stopwatch as well.
There’s no 3G on the new netbook but it has Wi-Fi for connectivity. Setups include a sturdy 16 GB SSD or the less kid-friendly 160 GB HDD.
Believe it or not, Disney doesn’t seem to have gone completely overboard with the kiddiness of the design, so as users get older they may not feel as inclined to toss it. The Disney Netpal will be available soon at Toys R Us and Amazon.com.
The Dell Latitude 2100 student netbook was just launched in Indian markets. The netbook is designed for student use, with durability and functionality both oriented towards making netbooks a major part of the classroom experience.
If the netbooks gain widespread use in classrooms, children everywhere could use the internet and education-based applications in a relatively cheap way. If you’re interested in netbooks for kids, be sure to check out the PeeWee PC, OLPC, or Gachapin and Mukku Ultramobile PC.
The latest child-specific netbook set to make its way to market is the new Dell Latitude 2100, which starts at $369.
Dell’s Latitude 2100 comes in a variety of colors (“School Bus Gold”, for example) in a rubberized case for durability. Unfortunately for the kids, a light pops on when the netbook connects to the internet. Why? So teachers know if they’re surfing the web instead of listening.
While schools in Australia have been notably progressive in involving netbooks in the classroom, US school systems and governmental groups have seemed less interested in the idea. To encourage American schools to adopt the Dell Latitude, Dell has thrown in access to its custom drive imaging as well.
The Latitude 2100 has the option of being a touch screen, which sounds great at first, until you realize that Dell is going to charge you for it. Bringing the battery from 3 cells to 6 cells will likely cost more as well, and once you throw in Dell’s “matching mobile cart”, the price could be out of control.
Somehow, the cost of kiddie netbooks tends to be high, which is the opposite of what you’d expect. If you’re okay with the price range you can get an Intel Classmate PC for $500 or a PeeWee PC for $600, but if you’re like the rest of us you’ll be happiest with an OLPC for a mere $180.
As soon as official pricing is available we’ll have the news for you, so check back soon for more on the Dell Latitude 2100.