Archive for the 'Disney Netbook For the Kids' Category

Oct 31 2009

Disney Joins Netbook Craze

The new Disney NetPal from Asus is a beefed-up Eee PC netbook with thicker hinges, a spill-proof keyboard, onboard parental controls and no shortage of Disney-themed frosting. Once you get past the mouse ear-shaped Webcam, this is just a typical Intel Atom-powered Windows XP netbook that you could easily imagine prying from your child to look up a recipe or watch a funny YouTube video.

There are three USB ports and a Secure Digital slot, plus a VGA graphics-out port for school reports and a headphone jack.  The Wi-Fi/Webcam combination could make Skyping with a grandparent an option.  The case comes in pink (aka Princess Pink) or blue, and there are two hard drive options – either the 160-gigabyte model (the MK90h) or the more shockproof 16GB solid state drive model (the MK90).

You may opt for the larger size and teach your child how to back up photos or projects on a separate USB drive.  Missing is a disk drive.  What makes this worth the few dollars over a cheaper vanilla netbook or an iPod Touch?  According to Chris Heatherly, head of the Disney team behind the system, it has to do with your peace of mind.

Rather than going the filtering route, the NetPal uses a white-list approach, where you decide what your child sees through his custom Disney desktop, which mixes installed applications with online destinations.  A scheduler, hidden behind a password, lets you decide which games your child can play, and when, if you want to limit your child’s time with Webkinz or Free Realms to after school but also have it inaccessible at bedtime, you can do so.

Perhaps the best part of this netbook is that it gives you choices.  So if your child gets tired of Hannah Montana or if you feel your child has outgrown the virtual fencing, you can toggle off your magical kingdom, download FireFox and run your NetPal like the netbook it really is.  The NetPal goes for USD350. – NYT.

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