Tablets Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Tablets RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The Pros and Cons of letting your toddler use a tablet Wed, 16 Sep 2015 08:48:25 -0400 Larry Everett

Do you feel guilty about giving your toddler a tablet so that you can have a few moments of quiet while he’s entertained by the flashy screen? If you don’t have kids yourself, do you feel weird when your siblings or friends do it?

Just a few years ago, I would growl to myself whenever I’d see my sister hand her two-year-old her tablet. I’d think that it was a kind of cop-out for parenting. When she’d do it, it said to me that she just didn’t feel like being a parent right then, so she was letting the tablet be a parent for her.

Of course, there is nothing new about what my sister did; it existed long before tablets did. And those feelings regarding tablets and toddlers are in the growing minority. In fact, my feelings on the matter have changed as well.

In a recent Harris Poll, 59% of parents studied said that they have zero issue with parents giving toddlers tablets as a distraction tool.

This shouldn’t surprise you. It’s easy, and -dare I say- lazy. I can’t fault parents for taking the easy route some of the time. It’s a lot of hard work raising children and parents don’t have an infinite amount of energy. But I do have concerns about how much time children spend on a tablet and so do the parents from that same survey. 58% are concerned that children spend too much time in front of touch screens.

This poll is far from scientific, and with only about 1000 people studied on an online poll, any statistician would likely toss out the results unless there was some other common factor or limitation. What does science say about giving your toddler a tablet? What are the pros and cons?

My parents, who were born in the late '50s, were subject to the scrutiny for the television. People would proclaim that it was evil and made people stupid.

When I was growing up, it was video games. They caused violence and made people evil. Today, that concern seems to be about tablets and other portable entertainment devices. And instead of just spouting off what I think, we should turn to actual research on the subject.

Do tablets affect reading abilities and literacy?

Concerned parents often point to tablets as possibly decreasing the numbers of children who actively read. Of course, in school, children will read because they are forced to, but what about reading for fun? That would be a great study about the actual reading habits of children.

Luckily Scholastic performed such a study, and it’s dated back far enough so that we can get an accurate indication of where it might go when today’s toddlers are in the age range of those studied.

The study monitored children in the US within the average reading age of 6 up to about the time they leave high school at age 17. And the results were significant in that the results weren’t significant. In 2010 -- the same year the first iPad released -- 37% of the children studied read nearly every day for fun, and 42% read for fun at least one day a week. Last year, 31% read nearly every day, and 42% read one or more days a week. That clearly indicates that reading has been affected by something, possibly tablet usage. Were that true, then we would see a similar drop in other similar countries; but, in a similar study in the UK, we saw the opposite effect. In 2010, 29% read outside of school, but in 2014, 41% did.

Conclusion: there is no evidence of tablets affecting the child’s desire to read nor how skilled they are at reading.

Do tablets affect social development?

On the flip side, we should look at the social impact that tablets have on children, especially those early development years.

Unfortunately, there is just not enough information yet to draw any significant conclusion on the effect of tablets on social development, but here is what some studies and experts say.

A 2012 study in Britain concluded that television made a minor contribution to the social behavior of children under seven, but when you add video games into that mix there wasn’t enough evidence to draw any conclusion at all. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t concerned.

In a New York Times interview, Professor Sherry Turkle from MIT and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other expressed her concerns in 2013:

“Conversations with each other are the way children learn to have conversations with themselves, and learn how to be alone. Learning about solitude and being alone is the bedrock of early development, and you don’t want your kids to miss out on that because you’re pacifying them with a device.”

"If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only know how to be lonely.”

Her primary concern after interviewing hundreds of parents, teenagers, and children about the use of these kinds of gadgets is that they don’t allow us to develop independent thinking.

Turkle is concerned that the tablets will give the child a false sense of intimacy:

“They need to be able to explore their imagination. To be able to gather themselves and know who they are. So someday they can form a relationship with another person without a panic of being alone. If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only know how to be lonely.”

And Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, a learning designer from the award-winning Leapfrog Enterprises agrees with this assessment. She spoke to PBS:

“Children under two years of age learn best from real-world experiences and interactions, and each minute spent in front of a screen-based device is a minute when your child is not exploring the world and using their senses, which is extremely important in their development process.”

It appears, as with anything in life, moderation is key. It’s not going to damage a child’s educational development to sit her in front of a shiny touch screen every once in a while, but you also don’t what that tablet to be her connection to the world. I’d say you want that particular connection to be you, the parent.

Get Ready To Build Your Heart Out With Lego Minifigures Online Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:02:42 -0400 onpv3rtigo1

If you felt disappointed and angry over the wrongs committed by Lego Universe, then have no fear! Lego Minifigures Online is set to bring back the people lost from Lego Universe and also win over the hearts of fans of the Skylanders series and role-playing games like Elder Scrolls Skyrim. Yes, that's right! Lego Minifigures Online will combine the toy-game crossover mechanic of the Skylanders games with the adventure role-playing of games like Skyrim.

Under development at Funcom, Lego Minifigures Online will be available as a free-to-play game for PC and tablets. However, there will be an option for a subscription which is the only way players will be able to communicate with each other along with other benefits. I'll touch more on that later.

The game is being classified as an MMO but will retain many of the gameplay mechanics set forth by the console Lego games such as the upcoming Lego Batman 3. There will, of course, be more multiplayer and character progression options available to put it in the role-playing perspective.

Lego Minifigures Online will feature a wide range of themed worlds based around classic Lego themes like Space and Castles. It will also introduce us to some new themes such as Mythology. These worlds will be accessed from a central hub just like accessing the stages in the current Lego video games. These worlds will also feature multiple dungeons for players to party up with their friends or to participate in raids.

In keeping with classic Lego game tradition, Lego Minifigures also retains the character swapping mechanic that is available during gameplay. You will have the ability to swap your character out with another from a small group of other characters, each with different abilities. You will need this ability to solve the games many puzzles and to help you defeat your enemies. There will also be a team based PvP option available, however the mechanics of how this will work are yet to be determined.

So what about the Minifigures already??

Ah! I am so glad you asked! The Minifigures will be available for purchase in stores just like Skylander figures. However, unlike those, the Minifigures will only be available in a blind bag. Meaning you won't know what you get until you open it. Also, each Minifigure will come with an unlock code for the corresponding in-game character unlock only. No information of any kind is stored on the figure itself. This is also not the only way to unlock characters. You can unlock new Minifigures through normal gameplay, making a virtual purchase, or for paying a monthly membership.

So is it really free-to-play?

Yes, Lego Minifigures Online is totally free-to-play. But, as stated before, the only way to communicate with other players will be through membership. There are other perks to subscribing as well. Along with random Minifigure unlocks you will get a weekly allowance of diamonds in-game and a monthly bonus bag which will include a random Minifigure. The parents section of the official website explains the purchases as follows:

Lego Minifigures Online is a Free-to-Play game with optional in-game purchases, and the game can be played completely without paying. Diamonds (in-game currency) and Memberships are also available as optional purchases. Children below the age of 13 have to rely on their parents for such purchases.

Membership fees will range from $7.99 for one month, $39.99 for 6 months, or $59.99 for one year.

As a HUGE fan of all the Lego games so far, I am very excited to hear about this game. I have played every Lego console game since Lego Star Wars and have absolutely destroyed each one of them. I don't know what it is about these games but they bring out the completionist in me. They are super fun to play, have a great sense of humor, and they are very addictive to play. Knowing that it is also free-to-play is also a big plus. For me, this is because it seems like it will be a never-ending Lego game that the completionist in me is gonna scream "ONE MORE LEVEL!" at 3am when I have to be up for work at 5. I wonder how much Monster energy you can really drink before it becomes bad for you?

Lego Minifigures Online is scheduled to be released this fall for PC and tablet devices. There is an open beta going on for Lego Minifigures on PC for those like me that can't wait to not sleep while playing with Legos.

Best Black Friday Tech Deals Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:14:51 -0500 Amanda Wallace

Black Friday is coming like a Stark winter. 

For the deal savvy holiday bargain hunter, there are plenty of deals across most big box and online stores. Wokendreamer has already put together a pretty comprehensive list of Black Friday games sales, which you really must check out if you're looking for deals of consoles or games (You can get a 4GB XBox 360 for $99 --- seriously check it out.) 

But Black Friday deals aren't just about video games, and gaming isn't just about the games. So here are some of the best deals you can get on the rest of your tech. 


What is a console without a great TV. Luckily, Best Buy has you covered with a great selection of discounted TV's just for the Black Friday crowd. (There is a 70 inch TV on this list for under a grand) 

  • Element 50'' 1080p LED HDTV for $229 at Target
  • Vizio E701i-A3E 70'' 120Hz 1080p Smart LED HDTV for $998 at Walmart
  • LG 55-inch LED TV 1080p 120hz for $500 at Best Buy
  • Samsung 65" LED 1080p 120Hz HDTV for $999 at Best Buy
  • Samsung 75'' LED 1080p 240Hz HDTV for $5999 at Best Buy
Smartphones and Tablets

Mobile gaming is on the rise, and you can get in on the action this holiday season with some great deals of tablets and smartphones from several reputable big box dealers. 

  • Apple iPhone 5c 16GB Smartphone with a $75 Walmart Gift Card for $45 at Walmart
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 4g Smartphone from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon for free at Best Buy (with 2 year contract)
  • Apple iPad mini 16GB WiFi Tablet with a $100 Walmart Gift Card for $299 at Walmart
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9'' Tablet with $50 Off Coupon for $189 at Meijer
  • Apple iPad Air 16GB WiFi Tablet with $100 Target Gift Card for $479 at Target
  • Microsoft Surface 10.6'' 32GB Windows RT Tablet for $199.99 at Best Buy 
  • Mach Speed 9.7-inch Tablet (G2-9) 8GB, dual core processor for $130 at Sears
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone 16GB of memory for 1 cent (+ 2 year contract) from Staples
  • Google Nexus 7 16GB 1.5GHz processor tablet for $199 at Staples
Laptops and Computers 

There are some truly fantastic deals for laptops and computers this Black Friday, and you can find some of the best here. 

  • HP Envy Touchsmart 15.6inch laptop with Windows 8 for $800 at Costco 
  • HP AMD E-300 1.3GHz 16'' LED-Backlit Laptop for $178 at Walmart
  • Asus 15-inch touchscreen laptop with Windows 8 for $250 at Best Buy
  • Dell Inspiron 15Z 15.6 in touchscreen 6GB of ran 500GB hard drive for $399 at Microsoft Store
  • Apple 21.5'' iMac 8GB Memory 1 TB hard drive for $1099 at Best Buy
  • HP 110-194 Desktop & 20'' LED Monitor Package for $429 at Best Buy
  • HP Desktop 8GB Memory 1 TB Hard Drive for $349 at Best Buy
  • Dell Inspiron 1660-6038BK Desktop & 24'' LED Monitor Package for $499 at Best Buy 
  • HP Pavilion Touch Smart 20'' Touch-Screen All-In-One Computer 4GB Memory for $399 at Best Buy 

These are just a few of the many deals that can a be found at your local and online retailer this holiday season. 

Are you going shopping this Black Friday? What are you looking for? 

GamesBeat 2013: The Future of Gaming Technology Thu, 31 Oct 2013 04:12:12 -0400 Mary Yeager

GamesBeat 2013 concluded its second and final day of panels, including The Future of Gaming Technology Fireside Chat. Senior Editor of The Verge, Sean Hollister, was the moderator and he was speaking to two industry experts. The first was Vice President of Epic Games, Mark Rein, and the second was Tony Tamasi, Senior Vice President of Content and Technology at NVIDIA.

Originally, the moderator focused in on the aspects of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets. Most of the questions raised were not about future technology, as both panelists responded several times with the fact that the technology is already used gaming and that such gaming does have its time and place, much like PC and console gaming. This topic did, however, lead Tamasi into mention NVIDIA's project with the codename of Logan.

SoC Project Logan (system on a chip) allows users to experience gForce quality graphics on a mobile device. Using the Kepler architecture, Logan is designed to run OpenGL and DirectX 11. This allows mobile users to experience graphics just like they can on a PC. This is also part of the features of the next-gen consoles of Xbox One and Playstation 4. In a demonstration at SIGGRAPH, NVIDIA has shown that it will even run one of Epic Games' next generation PC games.

Both panelists did agree that mobile gaming has not yet caught up to current console gaming, but that it is a only a matter of time before it does catch up. Mobile technology grows much like the PC technology has. Instead of a period of time passing before the next set of features are made available like consoles do, mobile technology grows each year.

Other than the talk about Logan and what NVIDIA intends to do with the chip, talk eventually veered to virtual reality gaming. The panelists spoke about how there is a good bit of interest in the Oculus Rift, as well as other companies they knew of that were experimenting with augmented reality but could not name as these companies are not public.

The last thing they discussed was cloud gaming, which they predict is still a long time in being seen in fruition. Basically, it has yet to be proven that it could work in its entirety with technology as it currently stands. Latencies need to drop as well as the whole basis of cloud usage needs to be made more economical. They did say it is not a matter of if, however, but of when we will see cloud gaming truly hitting the industry. There are some developers trying to develop for cloud gaming, though who was not mentioned.

This finalized the fireside chat. Unlike other panels, however, there were no questions from the audience.

Watch live video from GamesBeat on TwitchTV

(Note: This panel starts at 5:15:00)

Valve Considering Porting Dota 2 to Tablets Wed, 12 Dec 2012 17:32:45 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Could Dota 2 work on tablets? Valve has apparently tested it out, and decided that now is not the best time to do so.

Kotaku spoke with Valve's Gabe Newell after the VGAs last week, asking if the developer was working on any interesting projects. The answer, naturally, had nothing to do with Half Life 3.

Newell stated that they had been working on getting Dota 2 to run on some tablet hardware, but it "ended up being kind of a disappointment".

The problem wasn't controls, it was the technical capabilities of modern tablets. If any of you have or have tried to play Dota 2, the game is very resource-intensive -- it's not a surprise that today's tablets are not able to run the game.

Newell is optimistic and looking forward to the quick advances in tablet technology, no doubt wanting to make use of the popular mobile platform:

"I think we'll get the kind of performance we and other game developers want in the near future."

Would playing Dota 2 on a tablet be comfortable? Would tablet users even be able to compete against PC players? We don't know now, but Valve may give us an answer to these questions in the future.

And then the future will look like this: 


Source: Kotaku
Via: Joystiq