Dell on Tuesday introduced a netbook computer that mixes fun with education. Dell partnered with Nickelodeon to roll out the Inspiron Mini Nickelodeon Edition netbook with personalization.
The Nickelodeon Edition aims to balance the demand for kid-friendly entertainment with parental controls that protect kids from online dangers. Designed with kids in mind, the hardware is durable and highly portable with user-friendly features and functions.
"Moms insisted that we deliver on three things when it comes to a computer for their children," said Michael Tatelman, vice president of Dell Global Consumer Sales and Marketing. "First, help provide a safe computing experience. Second, provide superior educational content as well as a world-class entertainment experience. Third, partner with trusted brands. The Dell Inspiron Mini Nickelodeon Edition passes with flying colors on all counts."
A Slimy Netbook
The Nickelodeon Edition is wrapped in slime. In other words, it comes with a green artwork scheme that plays off one of Nickelodeon's classic trademarks. Kids who don't want slime can choose a theme based on one of Nickelodeon's other hit properties, such as iCarly and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Dell's netbook weighs less than three pounds so kids can carry it from room to room or even take it on the road. The netbook is based on Dell's Inspiron Mini 10v netbook. It features a 10.1-inch color LCD display and built-in wireless Internet access.
"With the Dell Inspiron Mini Nickelodeon Edition, we want to provide today's tech-savvy kids with a creative, fun tool to help kids excel while learning and entertaining themselves on the computer," said Leigh Anne Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. "Simultaneously, we want to give parents features to help ensure their kids are safe online."
Dell is promoting the safety aspects of its netbook. The company said it's safe for kids to send and receive e-mail and chat with new friends. The system includes a 15-month subscription to McAfee Family Security, which provides comprehensive parental controls to carefully direct and monitor kids' online activities. As kids grow, parents can relax the controls at their own pace.
The netbook also lets kids challenge SpongeBob SquarePants in an online game, listen to their favorite tunes, watch their favorite programs, or join a virtual world that aims to expand their learning horizons. The Nickelodeon-themed interface offers quick access to dedicated Web portals that serve up Nick.com content. The netbook will also feature a desktop animation linked to educational content from Whyville.net, where kids can actively participate in educational activities and games.
The Nickelodeon Edition is Dell's first kids-focused product. Dell will compete with Disney and its new kid-friendly netbook that rolls out this fall. Dell's product will be available online in the U.S. at Dell.com and on Walmart store shelves and Walmart.com in October. Dell hasn't announced pricing.
Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technology Associates, isn't overly optimistic. As he sees it, PC manufacturers have tried different age segmentations over time with mixed success.
"You might sell some into an age-segmented market, but you can saturate your market pretty quick," Kay said. "Brand tie-ins may have an appeal, but segmentation by age hasn't become a permanent category in the way mobility would or even consumer versus commercial. I have never seen this kind of age segmentation work yet over any long period."