Archos launches $129 Android 4.0 tablet, designed for kids

Archos, purveyor of cheap but mediocre tablets and portable media players, has announced a new addition to its range, in the form of a tablet designed for children.

The Child Pad has a “compact light weight design” (weight and dimensions not specified), a 1GHz processor (manufacturer not specified), a 7” display (type not specified) and 1GB of RAM. While Archos hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with a comprehensive spec list, its press release (PDF) did point out that it’s running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and given the low price point for this device – just $129 in the US and £99 in the UK – that’s enough to raise an eyebrow or two.

But bear in mind that the focus of this device is very much on its “child-friendly features”, and one key feature comes at the expense of another that you might otherwise expect: there’s no access to the Android Market on this device, which is a downside for anyone expecting to bag a bargain ICS tablet for themselves – but for the market that Archos is targeting, this is a very good thing.

In place of the Android Market, users will find the Kids App Store, powered by AppsLib, which features 10,000 family-friendly apps, broken down into 14 categories, including games, books, comics and communication. In place of the standard Ice Cream Sandwich UI, Archos has instead installed its own “child-friendly user interface”, featuring brightly coloured icons and interactive elements to make using the device more fun and appealing to younger users (although from the sole available image of the device, its UI actually looks pretty bland).

Parents get plenty of peace of mind here, as the device complies with CIPA and COPPA regulations, while robust parental controls are offered, along with “safe web browsing” via a third-party ‘Mobile Parental Filter’.

Most importantly, of course, the Child Pad will also come with Angry Birds pre-installed when it goes on sale in March.

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