Tabeo 7-inch tablet security and privacy overview

Toys “R” Us U.S. yesterday launched the 7-inch Tabeo tablet. It will be going on general sale in the U.S. on October 21st. The tablet is being marketed as something “parents want” with a multitude of controls and security features as well as 50 pre-installed apps for games, education, reading, editing photos etc. The Tabeo Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich interface will certainly look different to what you see running on other tablets, since they wanted the tablet to be as child-friendly as possible.

Toys “R” Us is also launching it’s very own Tabeo App Store, especially for kids. The content and apps will be child-friendly. Currently there are more than 7,000 apps available to download.

As for the operating system, it will be running on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) version 4.0 (not the latest, which is Jelly Bean 4.1.1) with 4GB flash memory, micro SDHC slot, 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, and 1GB of RAM. it also has a Gyro-sensor and front camera. The 7-inch capacitive tablet measures 223mm x 142 mm x 12.2 mm and weighs 380g, which is roughly the same weight as the Google Nexus 7. Each Tabeo comes complete with one USB cable and USB power adaptor. So, what does the tablet offer regarding parental security and privacy?

Here are some of the security and privacy highlights:

  • Multiple account access – adults can set levels of security for unto eight users – this allows children of multiple ages to access different types of content
  • Content filter – this can be set to block 27 predetermined categories of content, and parents can choose additional sites to block and can select specific online content to block as well
  • Early warning email – parents will receive an early warning email if browser detects “unsafe” browsing environment or the built-in Internet browser is bypassed. Children have the option to send an email to their parents to request to access a website
  • Browsing Schedules – parents can limit the amount of time their child spends online – i.e. allow a child access on certain days or during certain hours

There are certainly opportunities for even more security and privacy features. For instance, Wi-Fi location parental monitor tracking, photo monitoring for when you child takes a photo with the tablet and saves or uploads to a third-party website as well as the possibility of a panic button or “screamer” for example.

This is certainly an interesting development and I can actually see some parents believing these tablets would be more child-friendly and safe than existing tablets. That said, given what I know and have seen to date, many children still use their parents iPad or other tablet to download apps and browse the Internet. If these new tablets mean children will no longer use their parents iPad, then I’d say the Tabeo has been an instant success for children. Right now the jury is open. Pre-order your Tabeo. (U.S. residents only).

Safe surfing folks!

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