Disney and Asus Offer Netpal Netbook for Kids

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-06-17
 
 
 

Disney and netbook-leader Asus have teamed up to offer the Disney Netpal, a netbook for kids ages 6 to 12. It will be arriving in late July in two colors, naturally: Princess Pink and Magic Blue.

Durability, parental controls and Disney-heavy themes are the device's most notable features.  

The Netpal features a "reinforced mechanical design," according to a statement from the companies, as well as a spill-proof keyboard.

More than 40 parental control options are also included, enabling parents to choose, for example, which Websites kids can visit, with whom they can exchange e-mail and for how long and on which days of the week they can play online.

The Netpal runs Windows XP Home, can connect to Wi-Fi and has an 8.9-inch LCD display. A kid-friendly user interface is said to take four steps for a grown-up to set up, and an on-screen "gadget tray" makes the device easy for kids to navigate, holding icons for the Disney-themed browser and e-mail, as well as other applications, such as Disney Pix, for photos.

"Parents are comfortable with their kids using the Internet, but they want to be assured that their kids are having a safe online experience," said Chris Heatherly, head of Disney's Toymorrow team and vice president of Toys and Consumer Electronics for Disney consumer products, in a statement.

"The Disney Netpal, designed together by Asus and our Disney Toymorrow team, is a no-compromise device. There are plenty of terrific features and fun applications designed just for kids, but parents have ultimate control over the experience, with the power to set limits on how their kids are using the PC."

The Netpal runs an Intel Atom N270 processor, has 1GB of DDR2 SO-DIMM memory, a 0.3-megapixel camera - the camera eye is a Mickey head silhouette - three USB 2.0 ports and high-definition audio with built-in speakers.

Two slightly different versions are available, one selling exclusively at Toys R Us and the other at Amazon.com and other retailers. The Toys R Us version has a 16GB solid-state drive and weighs 2.2 pounds with the battery, while the other has a 160GB hard drive and weighs 2.6 with the battery.  

Kids can customize the screens of their devices with one of 10 available themes from popular Disney franchises, such as "Cars," "WALL-E" and "Toy Story."

The suggested retail price is $349.99, and carrying cases will be available separately.  

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