This Christmas gadget was actually one of my first posts on DisTECH. Way back in June, I wrote about Disney’s and Asus’s plans to launch the Netpal – a netbook computer for kids designed to make browsing today’s web a safe and enriching experience. To read more about the Netpal, click the link below!
Netbooks are a style of portable computer (made popular by the Asus Eee PC, the original version of the Netpal). They are small and light with minimal power, usually enough to run basic applications and browse the web. Netbooks usually do not have CD/DVD drives, although you can hook one up to an external USB drive if you wish.
I tell you this because you should be aware of these caveats before you think about putting a Netpal under the tree this year. If you know your son or daughter already needs a computer for more advanced functions than these will allow, you should probably shy away from netbooks. If, however, your child would be okay with browsing the Internet and playing with pre-installed Disney programs, the Netpal might be a great gift.
What makes this netbook different from the other slew of devices out there is the Disney touch. They are available in Magic Blue and Princess Pink, and you’ll get a genuine Disney experience on your desktop. You can use a selection of Disney desktop themes, a Disney-themed web browser, and a selection of widgets and applications. For example, Disney Mix allows for media management for music and video. Disney Pix lets your kids have fun with photos and paste their faces on bobbleheads with Disney Bobblehead. Radio Disney lets your kids stream real-time music from the Internet. For parents, there are built-in parental controls to give you the peace of mind to know that your children can have fun and be safe.
As far as specs go, this is about the same as most of the netbooks out there. The Intel Atom N270 processor runs at 1.6 GHz, the standard speed for this group of quiet and power-saving processors. It has 1 GB of RAM memory, 160 GB of hard drive space, and 8.9” screen. The screen and keyboard are both smaller than a regular laptop, but should be fine for your children. You also get a built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone. The Netpal retails for $349.99, although you may be able to find it a little cheaper if you look. I found it at Walmart’s web site for about $5 cheaper. Otherwise, here are links for the Magic Blue and the Princess Pink versions on DisneyStore.com.