A truly giant tablet hits the market…for kids!

Fuhu’s new 24-inch tablet is a great idea. Too bad it’s designed for kids, not grownups.

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It’s been a long, long, long time since Crosby, Stills, and Nash told kids to “Teach your parents well.” And I don’t think they were talking about a new 24-inch tablet computer from Fuhu. But maybe they were prescient or something, because I think Fuhu's new Nabi Big Tab 24 tablet is a great idea for adults  as well as kids. And for business as well as personal uses.

Redefining portable

In case you haven’t heard, coming this fall, the Big Tab 24 is the world’s largest Android tablet, though it runs Fuhu’s proprietary Blue Morpho operating system over the base Android 4.4 OS. (Fuhu, based in El Segundo, California, is also prepping a 20-inch version.) The specs are actually pretty impressive: it’s got a 15-point capacitive touch screen designed to let multiple (small) people use it at the same time, Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processors, and 16 GB of memory.

Not exactly the modern definition of portable, the 2-foot-diagonal behemoth is almost an inch thick and weighs a whopping 13 pounds. And apparently, it can only run for about a half hour without being plugged in. Fortunately, the built-in carrying frame also functions as a kickstand. Still, that’s a lot of screen and technology for $550, hardly more than a relatively tiny Apple iPad Air. The 20-inch version costs $450 -- compare that to an iPad Mini!

Why should kids have all the fun?

The idea behind this giant tablet is that kids can play games and work on projects together -- either cooperatively or in competition with each other.

Fine, that’s a great idea, but what I’m really interested in is what grownups could do with a machine like this. I don’t know whether or not users will be able to root the Big Tab to something like stock Android, but given the device’s kid-friendly design, it’s unlikely that too many “serious” folks will take that route.

That’s a shame, because it doesn’t take a kid to come up with all kinds of cool uses for a really, really, really big tablet. Sure, as readers of my phablet coverage already know, I’m biased toward big screens, but I think oversized tablets could have lots of useful applications:

  • Four-hand design, where two people work together to assemble a project.
  • Portable presentations where more than one person can face and see the screen at a time.
  • Media consumption. Amazingly large for one-person viewing, plenty big enough for sharing. Hang it on the wall, prop it up on a desk, lay it flat on a table or the floor, the possibilities are endless.
  • Games (yes, grownups play too). And sharing one screen could be way more interactive than everyone having their own or passing a single smaller tablet around.

Heck, simply expanding the envelope of what a tablet can be is a valuable exercise. I’m thrilled that Fuhu is proving it can be done, and I’d like to see a lot more companies put some more thought into truly differentiating their tablets.

That’s why I’m hoping that some other hardware company recognizes what a totally awesome idea this is and builds a similar device to give us boring old adults the chance to explore what’s it’s like to work together on a giant tablet. If and when someone comes up with a powerful, affordable, truly enormous tablet for business and consumer uses, I plan to be first in line to get one.

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