Between the Internet, comparison shopping apps and increasingly cut-throat big box competition, it's becoming hard for physical retailers to stand out and thrive. (Just ask Best Buy.) Offering exclusive products is one way for stores to differentiate themselves, and Toys R Us is doing just that with its newly announced Tabeo Tablet, a $150 tyke-friendly slate that will only be available at ToysRUs.com and Toys R Us stores around the country.
The 7-inch tablet comes with "nearly" 10 educational apps and 20 games preloaded, including top titles like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope, while an additional 7,000 apps will be available via the carefully curated Tabeo app store. A handful of books and entertainment-type apps -- think cameras and cooking instructions, not Netflix -- will also be included on the device.
The Tabeo's hardware is in line with its wallet-friendly price. The tablet includes a 1-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and a 800 x 480 screen resolution. Micro-USB and -HDMI connections are onboard, while the 4GB of internal storage can be bolstered by an additional 32GB with the help of a Micro-SD card slot. It's all running on a modified version of Android 4.0 ICS.
Toys R Us's Tabeo doesn't exist in a vacuum, however. The child-focused tablet niche is already being filled by competitors like LeapPad, Nabi, Meep and Kurio, as well as the $130 Archos Child Pad… a tablet that bears a striking resemblance to the Tabeo, from the front-side speakers and overall design right down to the hardware specs. Several of those manufacturers have already dropped the prices of their tablets to meet the Tabeo's $150 price point.
Interested? You can preorder a Tabeo online right now, though the tablets aren't expected to ship until October 1st. The Toys R Us press release says that the slates won't start popping up in brick-and-mortar locations until October 21st.