Today sees the launch of the Peewee PC, a convertible netbook designed specifically for kids.
The Peewee PC - described as an introductory PC for kids with none of the fuss involved in modifying a netbook so that it's safe to give to a kid - comes with a bunch of useful stuff like time limits, internet filters and software packages that are tailored to specific ages. It also costs $600.
When we first saw the price, we recoiled. Six hundred bucks for what’s essentially a stripped down netbook, are they serious? A trip to the Peewee website explains the price tag. According to the site, your hard-earned cash gets you the following:
- 10 Age-Targeted Software Titles ($179 Value)
- PeeWee PC Security Suite ($60 Value)
- Kids Windows XP Theme (Disney, Sci-Fi etc)
- Rugged, Durable, Tablet Laptop under 3 pounds
- Custom built for your child's age, name, and interests
You’re looking at a netbook with an 8.9-inch 1024 x 600 touch screen LCD and runs on Intel’s N270 Atom (1.6GHz) and an Intel 945GSE chipset. Packing a 60 GB 1.8-inch PATA HDD, 1 GB of RAM, 2-in-1 SD/MMC memory card reader and a water resistant keyboard, the Peewee converts to tablet mode to offer a virtual keyboard and handwriting recognition. It comes pre-installed with Windows XP Home, features a 1.3MP webcam which rotates 180 degrees. The Peewee can survive a 50 cm drop and has a five hour battery life. Alright so $600 just about fits.
We love the machine itself. It’s durable, portable, light (about 3-lbs) and offers a safer (albeit more expensive) alternative to computing that’s optimized for learning. A bit pricey to make it into classrooms all over the country, but great for encouraging at home learning. However, we do have one bone to pick.
The website contains at least three comments from parents who say this computer is perfect for two year olds and claim it builds their vocabulary (with games from the likes of Dr. Seuss) and also teaches them cause and effect (pushing a button on the keyboard makes something happen on the screen). We’d advise any parent against giving a kid under the age of about 8 or 9 something that costs $600. We’re pretty sure a 4 year old could show you some great examples of cause and effect with the Peewee PC, really expensive examples.
Whatever happened to LEGOs and reading Dr. Seuss from a book?