Toys ‘R’ Us to Launch $150 Kids Tablet
Taking exclusivity to another level, Toys "R" Us on Monday announced plans to launch its own proprietary tablet designed for children, the Tabeo.
At $149.99, the 7-inch touchscreen tablet builds on the toy retailer’s plan over the last few years to add exclusive products in efforts to avoid brand-on-brand price competition from Walmart, Amazon and others. The "showrooming" trend is said to be only exacerbating the price pressures. TRU’s website touts over 20 exclusive brands, including Magforce, Journey Girls, Fast Lane, You & Me, Imaginarium and FAO Schwarz.
The Tabeo — the retailer’s first-ever PL consumer electronics device — comes with 50 preinstalled apps selected for children, including both educational titles and popular games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Temple Run. An additional 7,000 free apps are available to download. A "bumper" offers protection if the device falls out of a child’s hands. Parents can also exercise several options to control internet use. The tablet runs on Google’s Android operating system.
"We are proud that tabeo offers robust and flexible parental controls that can help protect children as they surf the Internet, and we are pleased to offer the Tabeo App Store, which features only kid-safe content carefully curated by the Toys ‘R’ Us team," said Troy Peterson, VP, divisional merchandise manager, Toys "R" Us, U.S, in a statement.
The tablet, manufactured by French tablet maker Archos, goes on sale Oct. 21, and pre-orders are now available online at Toysrus.com.
The move comes as tablets are expected to again be big time sellers this coming holiday season and represents yet another low-priced tablet entry.
The Tabeo is priced significantly lower than the three other similar kids’ tablets on the market, but the manufacturers of Meep, Kurio and LexiBook on Monday quickly adjusted their prices to $149.99. Adult-focused tablets may increasingly reach kids as well. Last week, Amazon cut the price of its Kindle Fire to $159. Other players include Sony, Apple and Samsung. Toys "R" Us will continue to sell many of these brands alongside Tabeo.
"Tabeo represents a pretty good value considering its price and what it comes loaded with, but it will be a challenge to get consumers to want an unknown brand when there are so many other products out there," Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan told the Daily News.
Toys "R" Us has seen two years of profit declines and flat sales amid toy discounting and a downturn in the videogame business.
"Toys ‘R’ Us is in a really hard place," M. Eric Johnson, associate dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, told The Wall Street Journal. "The toy business is becoming a tougher game, and the Web is slowly killing off the big box phenomenon."
- Toys "R" Us Introduces Tabeo – A Tablet Specially Designed For Kids With Safety Features Desired By Parents – Toys "R" Us
- New Entry in Tablet Wars: Toys ‘R’ Us – Wall Street Journal
- Toys ‘R’ Us to sell its own kid-friendly tablet, called tabeo, for $149.99 – Daily News
- Toys R Us gets into the tablet computer game – Associated Press
Are tablets the right private label category for Toys “R” Us? To what degree are exclusives an antidote to price competition in the toy category?