Ereaders vs. Tablets for Tweens
Ereaders or Tablets for Tweens?
Does your tween have tech gifts at the top of a holiday wishlist? iPad 2? You aren't alone, and many parents debate whether to try to figure out how to make that wish come true, while others try to figure out how to convince that energetic young person that they will have to settle for something else.
Ereaders may seem like reasonable alternatives, but they are definitely not equal to an iPad or other tablet computer in nature. While the tablet is created as a variation on the computer experience, with touchscreen interactivity, the ereader is a device that is dedicated to the avid reader, not the avid game player-web browser-social networker.
Ereaders for Tweens
There are various ereaders that would work well for tweens, and as the technology is refined, the prices improve. Kindle, Amazon's top selling product, has been amplified via several new products. There's a Kindle ereader for every focus, and the tween Kindle choices can be cost effective, with several choices below $100 in cost. Barnes and Noble's Nook is another top ereader, with a touchscreen model, and a color tablet ereader version (Nook Color).
Kindle ereaders are able to browse the web, and handle email, along with Kindle specific games available, in addition to reading. Nook Touch, on the other hand, is strictly an ereader.
Tablet computers are able to function as ereading devices, with many having available apps for both Kindle and Nook books, as well as iBooks. A tablet tends to be more expensive, by far, than ereaders. The tablet's focus, for a tween, will probably be more on games and social use, along with media management and streaming.
Apple is a popular choice, with the new iPad, for those who can afford the device, as iTunes is a popular source of music downloads in the age range. As well, camera and video, makes this a fun device, from a tween perspective.
There are many other tablet choices, but one of the most exciting recent releases is the . The Kindle Fire incorporates ereading, as well as streaming of digital music and video. Web browsing, email, and android apps are also incorporated into the platform, at a price of $199. There isn't a camera, and the product has not been released yet. Available for pre-order prior to release, the tablet will be available Nov. 15, 2011. Kindle Fire tablet
Pros and Cons
My biggest caution on any expensive tech gift for a tween is responsibility vs. cost. If you invest heavily in your tween's tech gift, it's wise to consider an accident protection plan. Tweens go through a number of changes, and awkwardness, absentmindedness, and mood swings aren't uncommon. Be sure that your tween is responsible enough to care for an expensive gadget, and take the time to consider whether you want to replace a broken gadget that has been dropped or mishandled, or whether you'd like a little insurance against mishaps.
My next suggestion is that you consider the needs of the tween. An ereader is a nice stepping stone to a more advanced tech gift, if you aren't confident in your tween's responsibility level. A tablet can be more distracting, with the games and media. Is your tween going to live by your rules, if you set limits for use of a tablet? An ereader has less opportunity to be extremely distracted, but can be a waste of time if your reluctant reader doesn't buy into the concept.
The Kindle Fire is a good compromise, with the function of both tablet and ereader, and with a cost that isn't overwhelming. As well, there are affordable protection plans available for the ereader.