Bippity Boppity Boo, Here Comes a Disney Netbook for You!

A member of the Disney Public Relations team contacted me tonight about an exciting announcement that just so happened to be geared towards me, my family and my audience, a Netbook affectionately known as the Disney Netpal. Being the father of 3 daughters, one who is denying she is still in the princess stage yet still seems to dress and act the part daily, this is exactly the type of technology that I can appreciate.

This princess wedding between Disney Consumer Products and Eee PC manufacturer, ASUS, has resulted in what seems, in my opinion, to be a pretty good Netbook. Specifically designed for kids, it’s pretty obvious that some good time and thought went into the feature set, parental controls and even look and feel of this new Netbook line.

The “boys” version looks like this in “Disney Magic Blue” (you can’t really see it from a distance, but the pattern is actually rows of tiny Mickey Mouse icons):

Disney_Netpal_Magic_Blue_1

And the “girls” one as such in a beautiful “Disney Princess Pink”:

Disney_Netpal_Princess_Pink_3

Some of the things that make these Netbooks different than others (and if you have questions about any of the features or capabilities of Netbooks, please take a look at my post “10 Things to Consider when Buying a Netbook”) that I found particularly noteworthy are:

  • Rugged design including a spill-proof keyboard and ShockShield impact resistant, data protection
  • Web-safe
  • Unique Disney interface
  • Parental controls
  • Themed software
  • $349 MSRP

The NetPal is designed by Disney’s Toymorrow team, a group who work to develop new engaging product concepts which frequently result in the converging of digital media and toys. The Netpal is a prime example of this vision execution.

Each Netpal has a “Disney Magic Desktop” which is an easy to use user interface that is carefully designed for kid use. The browser is pre-configured with several kid-friendly website bookmarks, the Desktop features a 2D “gadget tray” that helps children easily access and launch applications. The desktops come in a variety of themes including: Hannah Montana, JONAS The Series, WALL-E, Cars, Toy Story, Club Penguin, Vintage Mickey Mouse, Disney Classic Characters, Disney Fairies, and perhaps the most important one for my youngest, Disney Princesses (although she would now say Hannah Montana).

My understanding is that there will be several other creative, interactive and engaging applications included with each Netpal.

For me, however, the most important feature is that of Security and Parental Controls. While I have not had the luxury of testing this new Netbook, the information I have been given suggests that it will be pretty web-safe and with stringent parental controls. Things like email safe sender lists, allowed websites and time/day access controls are present to ensure that children are protected.

I found the specifications to actually not be that bad:

Model Disney Netpal by ASUS MK90H Disney Netpal by ASUS MK90 – exclusively at Toys”R”Us
Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Home Genuine Windows® XP Home
Display 8.9” LED-backlit WSVGA screen (1024×600) 8.9” LED-backlit WSVGA screen (1024×600)
CPU Intel® ATOM N270 Intel® ATOM N270
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Memory DDR2 SO-DIMM 1GB DDR2 SO-DIMM 1GB
Storage 160GB HDD 16GB SSD
Interface 1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor)
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x LAN RJ-45
2 x audio jacks: Headphone / Mic-in
1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor)
3 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x LAN RJ-45
2 x audio jacks: Headphone / Mic-in
Camera 0.3 M Pixel 0.3 M Pixel
Reader MMC and SD (SDHC supported) MMC and SD (SDHC supported)
Audio Hi-definition audio CODEC
Built-in stereo speakers
Analog Mic
Hi-definition audio CODEC
Built-in stereo speakers
Analog Mic
Battery 4200mAh Polymer, 5hrs* 4200mAh Polymer, 5hrs*
Dimensions 248mm (W) x 173mm (D) x 28.7mm (H) 248mm (W) x 173mm (D) x 28.7mm (H)
Weight 1.2kg with battery 1kg with battery
Casing Colors Princess Pink, Magic Blue Princess Pink, Magic Blue

*Subject to system configuration and usage.

Note: Specifications are subject to change without prior notice. Please visit www.asus.com for more details.

For the same price, you can get a much better, more higher-end ASUS Eee PC. I would have preferred a larger screen, 2 GB of RAM, and a higher-rated WebCam. However, some of the changes (ruggedizing & spill-proofing, parental controls and Disney software) warrant the “premium” price. Even at $350, it is a reasonable price to pay for a Netbook.

The Disney Netpal will be available in late July and retailers include Toys ‘R’ Us and Amazon.com. The recommended age group is 6-12 years old. I hope at some point to get my hands on one to test it out fully!

HTD Says: If I hadn’t already equipped my daughters with hand-me-down Apple laptops, the Disney Netpal would be a Netbook I would definitely have on my list.

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2 Responses

  1. The Scottish Premier League is looking for a new broadcaster and several other contracts will be up for grabs too, including the FA Cup, the PGA Golf tour and several cricket matches. It’s just a waiting game to see who will pick up all the sporting disney acting auditions events and where you’ll be able to watch them. Meanwhile, Deloitte is poised ready to take Setanta into administration, and ESPN is now available on Sky and digital terrestrial TV.

  2. The Scottish Premier League is looking for a new broadcaster and several other contracts will be up for grabs too, including the FA Cup, the PGA Golf tour and several cricket matches. It’s just a waiting game to see who will pick up all the sporting disney acting auditions events and where you’ll be able to watch them. Meanwhile, Deloitte is poised ready to take Setanta into administration, and ESPN is now available on Sky and digital terrestrial TV.

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