YOU ARE AT:DevicesAnother 7-inch Wi-Fi only tablet: Toys R Us launches Tabeo

Another 7-inch Wi-Fi only tablet: Toys R Us launches Tabeo

Tablet-users who are tired of prying their slates out of their children’s eager hands have a new option as of today – Toys R Us has launched Tabeo, a 7-inch Wi-Fi only tablet loaded with kid-friendly content and games. Parents can pre-order the $150 tablet as of today, but it won’t get here until October 21. The Tabeo is a 1GB Android 4.0 tablet powered by ARM’s Cortex A8 1 GHz chipset. The company says the battery will last through 6-7 hours of video viewing, or up to 10 hours of surfing the Internet.

The introduction of another Wi-Fi only tablet is part of a troubling trend for wireless carriers. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are pushing new pricing plans that encourage users to buy “buckets” of data and connect multiple devices. These plans are targeted at families, the same market Toys R Us is addressing with Tabeo. Since tablets tend to consume more data than smartphones, carriers are hoping the purchase of a family tablet or two will drive more customers into the higher-margin shared data plans. But Wi-Fi only tablets cannot be part of these data plans, and the Tabeo is the latest in a string of these tablets to hit the market. Google’s Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only, Apple is expected to release a 7-inch Wi-Fi only iPad, and Microsoft is said to be going the same route with its upcoming Surface tablet.

The popularity of Wi-Fi only devices is encouraging mobile operators to focus on software that turns smartphones into Wi-Fi hotspots. “We see expansion of the role of carriers, using the hotspot as proxy to serve a broader range of devices,” says Sunil Marolia, senior director of product management for Smith Micro Software (SMSI). T-Mobile USA recently decided to embed Smith Micro’s mobile hotspot solution into a number of upcoming smartphones. The software enables additional devices to join the carrier’s network by tethering to the smartphone.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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