Fisher-Price's iXL is a learning tool for young'ns that lets them read interactively, draw, look at pictures and play games - pretty much everything your kids currently do on your iPhone but without you having to worry about jam-hands.
OK, the chunky clam shell gizmo doesn't owe much to the iPad in terms of physical design, but the applications it contains line up pretty closely with those of Apple's tablet. While Apple has evolved past the use of any input devices besides the ones attached to your palms, the iXL is a stylus-based gadget, geared towards three- to six-year-olds.
There are six programs that come loaded on the device: story book, game player, music player, art studio, note book and photo album. All of them are geared towards learning and interactivity: the story book reads out loud and lights up words as they go along; the note book helps little ones hone their handwriting by providing upper case letters to trace; the art studio offers easy options for drawing with brushes or stamps on a variety of cartoon backgrounds.
Some of the programs are intended for landscape orientation and others portrait, with a little monkey chiming in when the mini-user is supposed to turn it.
All of the programs work snappily and have some neat features, and while they're intuitive to an adult, it still seems like this device offers an awful lot for a four-year-old to get the hang of. Adding to the complexity, more officially-licensed programs will be downloadable in months following launch. These, as well as audio files and pictures, can be loaded via USB or with the built-in SD card slot.
But maybe I'm selling kids short. In any event, if you're hoping to get your kid started on the gadget-obsessed track early, the iXL is a toy to check out. It will be available in October for the nice price of $US79.99
Toy Fair is the annual event where we get to completely regress back to childhood and check out all of the awesome toys coming out for the rest of the year. And well, we love toys.