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Know How... 28

Child-friendly Android

January 17 2013

We're going to take an Android phone and customize it for a child.

We chose an Android device over an Apple one because of three reasons. Android devices are made by a number of manufacturers. That, in turn, makes for a number of lower price point devices. Lastly, Android is very customizable for anybody of any age.

Now why pick a phone over using an Android tablet or Android personal media player like the Samsung Galaxy Player? We're picking a phone because we like to reuse our gadgets over time. Additionally, the cost of certain phones is pretty low compared to devices aimed at children.

For Iyaz's kid, he picked the Samsung Galaxy Rush after research. The phone cost under $100, runs Android 4.0, and most importantly had a front-facing camera. A lot of phones are lower cost, but don't feature a front-facing camera. For this particular child, that camera was pretty important.

Children under a certain age can't have Google accounts. We don't recommend using your own Google account with your child's phone to prevent accidental purchases.

All About Android host Jason Howell suggested I take a look at the following article from Android Authority. The article draws attention to a number of apps for children. Another resource can be found at TechRadar.

Here's how we customized the phone for a two-year old. First, we installed GoLauncher EX. GoLauncher EX can bring some nice interface features even to older Android devices.

We grabbed a whole bunch of Pixar content off our DVDs and compressed some content to fit on the internal storage of the phone. You could always expand your storage with microSD cards.

To create shortcuts to files directly, we used ES File Explorer. However, that creates a generic shortcut. We wanted a visual look so a two-year old could recognize an image. GoLauncher EX lets you change the image for icons.

The last thing we did was get an image of "Slide to Unlock" since Iyaz's boy knows the iPhone. Before you hand the phone over, tell the device to forget the WiFi network and set the device to Airplane mode. Then check each icon and widget. Oh, one last thing, get a case for that device. It may go airborne.

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People: Leo Laporte