Fuhu Nabi: Is The Best Kids' Tablet The Right Choice For You This Christmas?

Eric Lai

The burning question isn’t whether the Fuhu Nabi is the best tablet aimed at kids today, but whether that makes it a better holiday present for the family than an iPad Mini, Google Nexus, or Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

After playing with the Fuhu Nabi 2 tablet on and off for the past month, I’m 100% confident in declaring it the best kids’ tablet out there today.

That’s not the important question, though. The important question is: is the $199 Nabi 2 a bettergift for your family this Christmas than the equivalently-priced Amazon Kindle Fire HD or Google Nexus 7, the $329 iPad Mini, or even the $399 Google Nexus 10?

It’s a complicated question, so before I answer that, let me share my experience with the Nabi 2.

Full disclosure: the Android-based Nabi is the ONLY childrens’ tablet I have tested hands-on. But to be immodest, I’ve done my fair share of research into tablets. From my readers’ e-mails, the Nabi was the only tablet that nearly every parent said was on their list.

So the Nabi was the only one I was truly curious to get my hands on and see if it could sway me and my kids (two boys, both just turned 9 and 7, respectively) from the iPad ecosystem.



nabi drawing app



The Nabi 2 bundles 25 free apps, including this fingerpainting app that my younger son loved.

The Nabi comes from a Los Angeles-area startup called Fuhu, which you might’ve heard is suing Toys R’ Us, basically for stealing its design and business plan.

Normally, these two factors would raise my doubts as to Fuhu’s long-term viability. But Fuhu’s backers include some of the biggest names in the Taiwanese PC scene, including Acer, Foxconn, Kingston Technology and VIA Technologies. It just got a $5 million investment from leading Japanese telco, KDDI. So I wouldn’t be worried.

$150 must be the price point that extensive market research has shown that parents and grandparents are willing to spend on kids’ presents these days, because that is what the vast majority of childrens’ tablets are priced.

The Nabi 2 may be $49 more, but it is totally worth it, for two big reasons. First, most of the kids’ tablet makers are creating custom, kid-safe app stores and and content that it hopes to sell to parents. Fuhu is no exception to this razors-and-blades strategy, hoping to profit long-term from selling $2.99/month subscriptions to its Spinlets+ TV service and paid app downloads.

The difference is that the Nabi 2 already includes 25 free educational apps and games. These run from the ubiquituous Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja to the totally entertaining AirAttack, a homage to the top-view shooter games of the 80s that me and my kids equally enjoyed.

One son really enjoyed the fingerpainting app while the other preferred the drumming and hangman ones. There are also 50 free songs and 30 free e-books. All in all, several hundred dollars worth of free content right there, says the company. (Note: A Fuhu spokeswoman says that both AirAttack and the fingerpainting app are NOT included in the free bundle, but can be purchased through its App Zone store.)

The second reason: the Nabi 2’s hardware. Whereas tablets like Oregon Scientific’s MEEP, Toys R’ Us’s Tabeo and others all sport single-core ARM chips, the Nabi 2 has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of storage.







The Nabi 2’s sub-standard screen didn’t prevent me and my boys from being addicted to the included game, AirAttack.

Apart from an inferior screen, the Nabi 2 is virtually identical to the Google Nexus 7, which for most of this summer and early fall was considered the fastest tablet around.

Knowing how fast that mobile hardware advances/becomes obsolete, I would guess that the Nabi 2 will have a useful life 2-3 years longer than $150 peers like the MEEP and Tabeo. 

The Nabi’s Achilles Heel

But specs are specs. How does the Nabi 2 perform in real life? According to my sons, the Nabi 2 was all-around zippier than our (1st-gen) iPad.

There were some hiccups. “It crashes every time I do multiplayer on Fruit Ninja,” said my 9-year-old. The screen sometimes faded to black during a video, reported my other son. Note: I didn’t check to update the Nabi while I had it, so these problems may have been fixed.

If it seems like I keep bringing up the Nabi 2’s screen, that’s because it is the device’s definite weak spot. It’s neither bright nor, at 1024×600, very sharp.

Both the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD have 1280×800 resolutions, cramming 66% more pixels in the same 7-inch screen. The Nexus 10 with its 2560×1600 resolution sports an incredible 670% more pixels. Even the iPad Mini, which has also been criticized for its resolution, is almost 30% sharper. Bright-eyed kids may not care, but adults like myself noticed.

Parental Controls

Out of the box, the Nabi 2’s parental controls, aka “nabi Mode,” provide a very safe environment for kids. These include the Maxthon child-safe Web browser, the curated App Zone (store) with 500+ apps, and the video player. Precocious kids used to browsing YouTube or searching Google or Wikipedia will feel confined, though.

The Nabi’s reward system, called Treasure Box, lets parents award digital coins (redeemable at the Nabi app store) to kids for completing tasks and chores on the Nabi or offline. It is well-thought-out, but can be labor-intensive as a parent to manage.

The New Competition

Adults can use the Nabi 2. There is an alternate Web browser that lets users download any content. Parents can also install the Amazon App Store and Netflix onto the Nabi – look for instructions on the many fan sites such as Everything Nabi!. Installing access to Google Play is technically trickier, but is supposedly do-able.

Of course, the reverse has always been true – kids will use their parents’ tablets. Which is what made parents like myself nervous. Every time my kids say they are going onto YouTube looking for the latest hilarious Dinosaur Office video, I’m afraid they’ll instead type some semi-naughty word they learned on the playground and suddenly they’ll watching something that they’ll only be able to unsee after years of therapy as an adult.

That’s what made childrens’ tablets – see this gallery of ten of the hottest ones – such a slam dunk.

But the latest version of Android 4.2 ‘Jelly Bean’ allows the creation of user profiles for multiple users. That means parents can create separate logins for their kids that filter and allow only child-safe content and apps. This would apply to the new Google Nexus tablets as well as the Kindle.

Parents with older, non-upgradeable Android tablets can turn to parental control apps like Kytephone.

As for the iPad Mini, there are no multiple user profiles, so it’s hard to switch between adult and child users. But you can set up aggressive content filtering and parental controls. And at $329, the iPad Mini is now as affordable as the iPod touch ($299 to $399), which parents have been buying and giving to kids for years.

I asked my kids what they thought overall. My 7-year old son gave it 8 stars out of 10, while my 9-year-old awarded it 7 stars.

So What Should You Choose?

That sounds about right to me. If you’re looking for a tablet that straight out of the gift box is kid-safe and chockful of entertaining and educational apps and will be owned or primarily used by kids 8 years old and under with minimal parental supervision, the Nabi is it. It is the best of the crop of kids’ tablets. You are unlikely to go wrong with it.

However, if the Nabi would be only the first or second tablet for your household, or would be heavily shared with teens and adults, I’d recommend the Amazon Kindle Fire HD or one of the Google Nexus tablets.

If your kids already have strong history with games and apps available only on iOS, I’d strongly consider the iPad Mini.

In our situation, with only one, rapidly-aging tablet in the house, it makes more sense that our next tablet will be an adult one that we can safely share with our kids. Despite our long history with the iPad, I’m leaning towards the Google Nexus 10 with its killer screen. But for many other parents and giftgivers this holiday season, the Nabi will certainly be your best choice.


Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

Eric Lai previously worked in Enterprise Mobile Solutions Marketing at Sybase, an SAP company. His specialties include blogging, journalism, social media, marketing communications, content strategy and writing and editing.

Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.


Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.


Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.


Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.


Mobile Marketing Continues To Explode

Daniel Newman

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.


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photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin (license)

Daniel Newman

About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist