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For the last year or so, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) has offered a special "just for kids" interface on many of its most popular hardware platforms. Starting with the big three video game consoles and desktop computers covered the most obvious kid-friendly bases, and a smattering of other devices have joined the club one by one.
But one omission never made sense to me. The Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPad is such a natural magnet for underage eyeballs, but Netflix lacked a special kiddy experience there.
Until now, that is. This morning, Netflix introduced its first-ever "Just for Kids" interface for iPad tablets.
The segregated iPad experience looks and feels much like the Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii version, only optimized for touchscreen navigation. One tap brings you into the special child-safe section, where large tiles present cartoon characters and toddlers-to-preteen TV shows in organized rows.
My 2-year-old already figured out how to find Monkey Trouble and My Little Pony on our family iPod (hint: check out the "Recently Watched" category), and the kids have collectively monopolized our so-called "family tablet" as their own cuddly outlet for casual games -- and Netflix flicks. This upgrade will only cement that intimate relationship between my offspring and their favorite Apple toy.
Netflix didn't say why it took so long to bring "Just for Kids" to the iPad, but did promise to expand the interface across other mobile devices such as Android tablets later this year. Mobile computing gadgets and media-hungry kids are a match made in heaven. This move was long overdue.
Now I'm only pondering when Netflix might lift the limit of two simultaneous streaming devices per account, or at least offer the option to pay more for a higher limit. I'm running into that limitation on an almost daily basis now, thanks to the 10 (yikes!) Netflix-compatible devices catering to the varied tastes of a family of five. I'm not quite ready to sign up for a second Netflix account just for the kids, but the idea is starting to sound... not insane. Surely, many subscribers out there must feel my pain.
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