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.
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:
there demand for another children’s tablet?
Toys R Us make the case to parents that they need another tablet in addition to
their iPad or Kindle Fire?
will “tabeo” differentiate itself from the Technosource, Lexibook and Oregon
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.