Tablets have been primarily seen as one user devices, leaving parents with the awkward choice of letting kids use their devices (and accounts!) & with buying each child their own device. Both options have significant drawbacks in terms of security & cost. Let’s have a look at the newest crop of multiple user friendly tablets & explore the options they offer for families.
Google Nexus 10
With a 16GB WiFi model priced at just $399 (32GB at $499) the Nexus 10 inch tablet running android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) sports a 10 inch Corning Gorilla Glass 2 scratch resistant 2560-by-1600 high-resolution display, 2GB of memory, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash & 1.9 MP front-facing camera. Weighing just 603 grams, the Nexus 10 provides high definition support for TV shows & movies, photo editing & sharing & full support for Google Play store, Chrome, Gmail , Google maps, Youtube & Google +.
Google Nexus 7
If you want to get each child their own device without emptying your wallet, the Google Nexus 7 , powered by the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor, with 1GB of ram might be just what you are looking for. Starting at just $199 for the 16GB WiFi model, Nexus 7 offers a great educational & entertainment experience.
Multiple User Friendly
Both Nexus 10 & 7 run the android 4.2 “Jelly bean” operating system. To begin, a parent will set up the 1st account on the device, this account is the primary & retains control over the editing, adding or deleting of users. Once you are set up, begin setting up multiple user auxiliary accounts by tapping on “settings” & then “Add New User” each family member will then log onto their own Gmail account & be presented with the same set up options, each having a virtual sandbox to store their own apps, pics & data! No info is shared across accounts & switching users is easy, just pull down the settings shade, go back to the lock screen & select the appropriate user icon from the display at the bottom of the screen.
Check out safety hints & tips from other parents over at the Google Safety Center
For additional Parental controls to filter out inappropriate web content, monitor device use & set time limits for apps, games, media player & Youtube check out Funamo , this paid app is feature rich, offers a lot of peace of mind for parents, including the ability to alter device settings from the web & can also be used on the kindle Fire 2 or kindle Fire HD.
Microsoft Surface RT
With pricing starting at just $499 for a 32GB tablet Microsoft Surface RT is powered by NVIDIA T30 & has 2 GB of system memory, features a 10.6 inch Gorilla Glass 2, ClearType HD Display, front & rear-facing 720p HD cameras, Full-size USB 2.0 & microSDXC card reader. Surface RT is run by the Windows RT operating system & runs Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview 2, (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote); Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music, Video, and Games. You can enrich the experience further with the addition of a spill resistant, thin, light dual keyboard Touch Cover at $119.99 or a traditional Type Cover with a full row of function keys at $129.99
Things to know- The Windows App store is still young & does not yet offer the range of content of Google Play or the Amazon app store but new content is being developed & added daily.
Windows Surface RT is multiple user friendly
Like the Nexus tablets, the 1st account set up on the Surface is the administrator account, with control to install apps, change system settings & manage users. You’ll want to consider create Microsoft Accounts for yourself & each family member for ease in buying apps, sharing content & synching your personal preferences on any Win 8 PC you log onto.
Multiple Users, Sharing & Family Safety
Microsoft Family Safety – monitor your kids’ user accounts, set up age ranges for games, control when your kids use the internet & more
Kurtsh has created a wonderful, easy to follow tutorial on how to set up a Microsoft account for your child & how to add apps & games you’ve purchased to your child’s profile
Amazon is offering consumers a lot of tablet for short money. The $199 7 inch Kindle Fire HD is my editor’s pick for a budget tablet solution this holiday season. The 1280×800 HD display is stunning at this price point & the Dolby audio and dual-driver stereo speakers deliver a sound quality that really impresses me.The Fire HD weighs a bit more than the Nexus 7 but it’s build quality is excellent & it’s tough enough for young hands.
Things to know – Kindle Fire runs using a special version of android that is tied to the Amazon ecosystem which means you can access the Amazon app store but there is no native support for the Google Play store out of the box. Gaining access to view free Amazon Prime movies & TV shows will require a paid Amazon Prime account which will also give you free 2 day Prime shipping. Fire owners will also be able to borrow one book per month, free from the kindle library.
Multiple Users & Child Safety Features
While the kindle Fire doesn’t grant the ability to create totally separate user accounts the new Kindle FreeTime feature allows parents to set up user profiles for each of the kids. Instead of restricting content Freetime let’s you select the books, apps, videos & games you want them to use. Best of all FreeTime puts parents in control of when kids can use the device & for how long, you have the ability to restrict games but allow reading. Kids will love the colorful child centric interface!
In the end, your choices will come down to your favorite ecosystem & whether you intend for the entire family to share a single device or if you are looking for a lower cost way to give each family member their own tablet. What options look the most useful to your family?
FTC: I was not compensated & was not given any products by anyone in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.