Look, Fuhu's products aren't for you. They're for your kids, or possibly your extended family if you're a really cool uncle or grandma or something. So the company doesn't have the same kind of demanding scrutiny for timely software updates as, say, the latest Galaxy Tab. Even so, the Nabi 2's update to Android 4.4 is being sent out almost a year and a half after the software was first available, and it's not like Fuhu has a ton of other products waiting in line.
When Fuhu announced the 20- and 24-inch Big Tabs, we all kind of chuckled and gave them a pass. Surely kids would like huge tablets, right? I think so. But now things are just getting out of hand - the company just announced 32, 43, 55, and 65-inch Big Tabs. Tablets the size of TVs. It's insanity, I say.
All of the Big Tab XL models are capable of doubling as TVs (thankfully), which makes them a little more justifiable.
You know what this world needs? More huge Android tablets. I'm talking full-on monitor-replacements. Or small TVs. Let's throw portability out the window in favor of bigger screens. I like it. Fuhu gets that, so it just announced two new massive nabi tablets: the nabi Big Tab HD 20 and Big Tab HD 24.
Like the names suggest, these are 20 and 24-inches, respectively. Big ol' tablets that are designed with family time in mind.
As far as we can tell, today's over-the-air update for Fuhu's top-of-the-line DreamTab HD8 is the first time the company has published an Android 4.4 device build. Not that the kid-friendly target demographic is likely to care that their tablets are running the latest and greatest KitKat build, but heck, newer is better, right? According to Nabi's support website, the update is going out to tablets today, and can be initiated with the usual manual check in "Mommy or Daddy mode."
In addition to the extras in Android 4.4., the update adds a basic calendar app designed to let children start learning their Gregorian.
If you're an early adopter of Fuhu's newest tablet for kids, good news: a major OTA is rolling out now that brings many of the advertised features to the device. This massive 1.4GB download brings a ton of new features and enhancements to the unit, as well as a few fixes that should hopefully clear up some of the frustrations users have been experiencing. Here's a look at the full changelog:
Dream Pro Studio™ Draw & Editor Apps: A powerful suite of creative tools that teach your children how to draw and edit movies like a pro!
Owners of the Nickelodeon Edition of the kid-friendly Nabi 2 tablet have probably been somewhat jealous of their non-Nick counterparts, which got an over-the-air update back in December which added compatibility with the Google Play Store. Or maybe it's just the parents of the owners who care. In either case, the Nickelodeon Edition Nabi 2 now has access to the Play Store courtesy of the latest OTA.
In addition to the Google Play Store (accessible in "Mommy or Daddy Mode"), version 2 of the software adds Wings Explorer, a huge collection of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic lessons aimed at kids.
When it comes to big things happening at CES, Fuhu isn't really the first name that comes to mind. Understandably so, as it's a small, niche company. But don't sell it short, either – these guys have been hard at work and have some great-looking products set for release in 2014.
We spent some time in the Fuhu suite yesterday here at CES in Las Vegas, where company representatives walked us through some of the upcoming products and accessories that we can expect to see later this year.
Fuhu is no stranger to partnerships at this point – the company has released the nabi jr. Nick Jr. Edition, nabi 2 Nick Edition, and nabi 2 Disney Edition. And according to the New York Times, it looks like another co-branded device is coming down the pike now, though this one reportedly exits the nabi line and will be released under the moniker DreamTab.
This upcoming device is a collaboration between Fuhu and DreamWorks, and will come in an eight-inch form factor for roughly $300, though a 12-inch version could also show up down the road.
Guys and gals, it's a big day for nabi 2 owners. The days of rooting and flashing Google Play will be long gone later today, because Fuhu will be officially rolling Google Services out the company's most popular tablet.
Since the nabi 2's release, the one sticking point has always been the lack of Google Play. This left users with Amazon's Appstore or Fuhu's App Zone (or worse, some third party "store" no one has ever heard of) for their application needs.
We've talked about the Fuhu Nabi 2 quite a bit over the last year or so, and it's probably my favorite tablet designed specifically for kids. It's built tough, packed full of useful educational software, and sports enough power to stick with your little one for at least a few years.
Update: It looks like Wal-Mart has 'em beat, because they're letting the Nabi 2 go for $99 November 28th thru December 1st.