Peapod Toys is showing an MP3 player designed for babies and toddlers. It’s a simple, durable design that will allow even very young babies to learn to control their music. The player holds about two hours worth of music and will play for more than 40 hours on a single AA battery. The speakers were nothing special (though it was very noisy in the Javits), but the concept is interesting and the execution is nice.
The whole thing is covered in rubber to help it withstand the sort of abuse you might expect it would endure. It only works on a PC with the included software. There are just three buttons – forward, backward and stop. The downside is, there’s no switch to lock the buttons, which could be a problem with push-happy toddlers. The volume is controlled by the parent, and the built-in speaker means kids won’t need to use headphones and risk any hearing loss, though there is a headphone jack, too.
The Peapod will retail for around $100, which strikes me as close to the price of an iPod. I mentioned this at their booth, but they seemed certain that no parent would give an iPod to a very young child. I decided not to mention that we’d bought an iPod for my older daughter as an incentive for potty training. It’s still one of her favorite things, and I will swear that it (along with our TiVo) is one of the reasons why she’s reading before her 5th birthday. But that’s neither here nor there. It’s certainly more baby-friendly than an iPod, but it holds far fewer songs, and even if the software interface is really outstanding (they were not demonstrating it), it will not come close to the elegance and simplicity of iTunes. Any thoughts? I’d love some input here.