A recent Nielsen study is showing once again Santa will be making a stop in Cupertino to load up before Christmas. 48% of kids aged 6 to 12 want an iPad, the most asked for item on Christmas lists. The Nintendo Wii U is in 2nd at 39% while iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and iPhones fill out the rest of the top 5.
Smartphones and tablets are quickly encroaching on the home console business, especially the niche that Nintendo had carved out. Nintendo’s roster isn’t about super sound and visuals, it more emphasizes fun gameplay and whimsy. Exactly what you can do on your phone with Fruit Ninja, Cut The Rope, or Angry Birds. So the Wii U is a success for the console manufacturer. It is a screen based controller that can have you playing on your lap or on your big screen.
iPod Touch [$299 - 32GB]
The new iPod Touch is going straight after the point and shoot camera crowd. If you have a kid on your list who is wanting an iDevice, is too young for an iPhone, and you don’t want to break out for an iPad, an iPod Touch is the perfect compromise. It’s the original iPad Mini (which, btw, is only $30 more)
The camera is upgraded on the new edition and it comes with a nifty camera strap that makes it feel just like a camera – that can play games, surf the internet, and NOT ring up your mobile bill.
Survivor iPad Case [$79.99]
If they are lucky enough to be scoring an iPad for Christmas, make sure you get something to protect it. The Survivor Case is military tested against sand, dust, shock, drop, wind, and rain. If you don’t want them crying because they shattered the screen halfway through Boxing Day, a sturdy case like this is a good idea.
VTech Brilliant Creations Tablet [$59.99]
If you want kids to have a digital place to play, but aren’t into the price points of the ‘real’ technology, then starting them off with a kid-sized tablet device is a great way to make them ‘feel’ like Mom and Dad without getting in and messing with your stuff. It teaches math, language, and a knowledge of a keyboard. It’s motion and touch controlled.
Nexus 7 [$239.99 - 16GB]
If your household is an Android play place, then you’ll love the price point on the Nexus 7 from Asus. It’s a kid-friendly 7″ tablet with 10 hours of battery life. If you’ve fallen in love with a phone like the Samsung Galaxy, than a tablet like this is where you want to go so your apps can work on both devices.
There is an interesting kind of convergence happening in the game world right now. New school and old school are blending with digital games moving to analog spin offs, and analog games going digital. Monopoly Zapped [$29.99] is a new way to play the classic board game with your iPad as a centre piece. You download the free app and run it on the device in the centre of the board to make instant money transfers, play money games, and get game advice. Meanwhile, the popular mobile phone and Facebook game, Word With Friends [$19.99] has morphed into a board game. Both of these games are great ways to bridge the digital divide to get families sitting around the kitchen table instead of talking over text.
Apptivity Add Ons
And to make digital games more analog, there are apptivity accessories that have made their way to market this year. Fruit Ninja’s [$14.99] Sensei will help you slice and dice the flying mangos. The Pig King from Angry Birds [$14.99] gets his own chance to fly with their apptivity game. Batman, The Dark Knight Rises, [$14.99] has a series of apptivity add ons, each with different powers and game play.
APP OF THE WEEK:Elf On The Shelf [free]
There are 8 extravaganzalorious apps to show off this week, all spin-offs from The Elf on The Shelf. They are all free, and if you have elf obsessed kids in your household, this is a fun way way for them to actually “touch” and play with their elves without getting in to trouble. There are snowball fights, tree trimming games, flying games, hide and seek, music making, and more.