My niece, Atasha, went to our family office today to surf the internet. It amazes me that at her age (she’s 4 years old) she already knows which kids websites to go to. She always uses the big old chunky Gateway laptop we have here but the ethernet cable is connected to my Kohjinsha UMPC. She is really amazed by my UMPC ever since she saw the photo of her mother using it during the latter’s visit to Singapore the previous month. And she’s even more amazed whenever she sees me using it.
Today she gets to use it to surf on one of her favourite websites – Disney Playhouse. On the Gateway laptop, she would actually point the screen for navigation. The only problem is the Gateway Laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen.
Now that the Kohjinsha has a touchscreen feature, Atasha is enjoying playing games on the Disney Playhouse website by simply touching its pictures.
What happened this morning made me think. Will UMPCs with touchscreens offer better options for kids at Atasha’s age? I think they will based on this experience. I haven’t seen kids at her age using a trackpad. Or even a mouse. Another reason I thought of is the UMPCs’ portability. Kids can play with these devices while on the road, especially if educational games are installed that are best suited for touchscreen UMPCs (with parental supervision of course. Who knows when these kids will drop your UMPC!) The only drawback I see here is the small 7″ screen but when I asked my niece if she had any problems with its size she just simply shook her head.
If the Asus EEE PC, OLPC or any other manufacturer would offer touchscreen netbooks in the near future, I suppose these kids like Atasha would play with them most of the time rather than with their real toys.