Toys R Us Launches “tabeo”; competes with “Meep”, “Lexibook Junior” and “Kurio”

r Us started its 4th quarter a little early last week by blasting
its way into the news
.  The
combination of a speech by Jerry Storch, CEO, defending big box retailing; the
announcement of a “Hot Toy Reservation Policy” and the launch of the “tabeo”
tablet were designed to demand attention from the nation’ media; it worked.

In my last posting I commented on Mr. Storch’s speech
about Big Box retailing (See: “Toys R Us; Jerry Storch Stands up for Big Box Retailing”).  In
this posting I want to look at the significance of Toys R Us’s decision to enter
the tablet market via its “tabeo” tablet.

“tabeo”, available only at Toys R Us, is designed for children, containing both
kid based content and safety features. 
It will retail for $149.99 and comes with 50 free apps
.  There are an additional 7,000 apps available covering
everything from educational to reading to entertainment.  

coming out with “tabeo”, Toys R Us will be competing with Technosource’s Kurio,
Lexibook Junior
and the Meep from Oregon Scientific
.  All of these are currently available from
Toys R Us.  All

of them are parity priced
with “tabeo”.  All four look very much alike.

It is interesting that Toys R Us chose to enter a field
that has competing players and more on the way. 
It will also find itself
competing with the lower priced Leapfrog Leappad ($99) and “adult” products like Kindle Fire ($159) and the iPad ($399 to $499) which,
whether intended or not, have proven to be kid friendly. 

The big questions I see are:

  • Is
    there demand for another children’s tablet? 
  • Can
    Toys R Us make the case to parents that they need another tablet in addition to
    their iPad or Kindle Fire? 
  • How
    will “tabeo” differentiate itself from the Technosource, Lexibook and Oregon
    Scientific products? 
  • How
    will Toys R Us merchandise tabeo relative to those of its competitors?

It gets complicated when you are both a retailer and a
manufacturer.  It should be interesting.


One thought

  1. Richard, you mention “the announcement of a “Hot Toy Reservation Policy””. What does that mean exactly? It sounds interesting.

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