Say hello to the Fizzbook, the UMPC designed for children

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It could be that the dream of one laptop per child is getting nearer. The Fizzbook is waiting in the wings, a cute lime green UMPC designed for kids aged 6-14. It provides the user with software that links directly to the national curriculum to help them do their homework and has a variety of options for them to enjoy.

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As well as a 7 inch LCD screen, the computer has 512MB of internal memory and 2GB of storage. You also get Wi-Fi as well as a 4.5 hour battery life, and the unit is shock proof and splash proof. The machine has 2 USB ports, an integrated card reader and stereo speakers, as well as parental controls. They’ve used the Intel Atom Processor in combination with Microsoft Windows for children to make the experience simple and easy to use, but one wonders if you’re really getting value for money.

True, there are plans to create an 8.9 inch model with external drives and more storage later this year, but considering the glut of UMPC’s already on offer, is the Fizzbook going to flop? The key to this device making a dent in the market will be the interface, and just how easily young kids can access the services they need.

I’m thinking they’d want a larger keyboard, cutesy graphics and something that’s extremely lightweight. We’ll just have to wait and see if the Fizzbook will flourish.

£199 from September from Zoostorm and selected retailers.

See here for more computers

Zara Rabinowicz


  • I think that children get used to using Windows much faster than adults do! My 7yo seems perfectly able to use it and knows more about it than me in many cases. Generally children seem to want a few basic things, the internet, email, MSN and games. Younger children still like games and the internet and it’s possible to install software such as Easybits magic desktop for very young children. This software installs over XP to provide a more simplified graphical interface which does not require reading skills to operate.

    These laptops are aimed directly at primary school children. Studies have shown that children perform better at school if they have a laptop at home. These laptops are a good specification able to run all general applications like Office, Email and Internet and I can’t think of a better product for that age group. Full size laptops may have a faster processor and bigger hard disk but they are also relatively fragile, more expensive, bigger, heavier and the batteries won’t last as long.

  • The hardware itself might be suitable for kids, but then again, if I were designing a laptop/UMPC for children I’d make sure it has as little buttons as necessary and everything is visible, not on the side of the computer or behind it or so. But oh well, there’s already a gazillion different UMPCs and stuff for children, some are good and some are bad.

    But then there comes the software issue…Windows (XP, Vista, or any other version) isn’t really suitable for small children as-is. Small children just have very different needs and interests than adults, and they don’t yet think in as abstract ways as us, so the interface should be as clear and straight-forward as possible and kind of “lead” the kids to activities instead of waiting for them to do something.

    I have seen several ones that look pretty good hardware-wise but they all just fail at the software side of things. Unfortunately.

  • Why just for kids! I’m a teacher and have bought one for myself – the battery life, the small size and having XP make it a very good buy

  • Jen
    I accept your point about older kids wanting a proper laptop but I think for kids up to say 12, this is a great idea which will catch on?
    Don’t overlook the fact that the main selling point is the cost? As the market takes off and costs of production decrease this could well be selling for a lot less than the £199 currently being quoted?

  • Surely a specially designed laptop like this is only of much use for kids under 8 or so? I just don’t see why kids older and certainly those at secondary school (i.e. 11+) would have any interest in it whatsoever? They’d either share parents’ computers or, if they wanted a laptop of their own, want a proper one that might last them a while and probably have a far better spec, look better etc.

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