For about the past month or so I have had the pleasure of testing out a Samsung Focus Windows Phone with the help of my kids. I’ve been quite impressed with it so far. Before the iPhone I was an BIG TIME Windows Phone user. I always LOVED the interface. It was the best smartphone out there. And no one could make me switch. Even after I tried an iPhone I went back to my Windows Phone for a while. I just could not give it up. I have had several variations of phones with the Windows Mobile OS. If I go from memory I think I had a Samsung Blackjack, HTC 8125, HTC Tilt, HTC Tilt 2, and umm… I think there was one more that I cannot remember. Like I said, I was dedicated.
I will post more of my own impressions of the phone for grownups in a separate post. This one is all about the kids. 🙂
This review is to promote kids and learning, specifically reading. Kids and reading with a Windows Phone? Why Yes! The phone was sent to me loaded up with some awesome apps for my kids to try out for reading and more. And besides the ones that they preloaded for me, there are even more in the marketplace. My kids are already used to playing games on iPhones and my iPad, so they had no problem with the Windows Phone.
Here is a little bit about the apps:
A is For…
“A is For” is perfect for young kids that are just learning the alphabet. When you start the game the alphabet floats across the screen. Clicking on a letter causes it to recite the letter and it then displays a picture of an object starting with that letter. For example, clicking on M displays a monkey.
“Flashcards” is a simple app that allows you to create Flashcards to use instead of paper flashcards. The ideas are endless. Some of the sample cards included some things perfect for older kids. There were cards for Cell Biology, French, Spanish, Sports Trivia, State Capitals, and even Trig.
Math for Kids
This one is great for my girls who are in second grade and learning something new in math every day. I love that you can specify your childs skill level in the app by setting a range of what numbers you want to include in the math problems. For example, if you child only knows how to count to 25, you can set that as a maximum used in the game. Once the game starts it displays a match problem with 3 multiple choice answers. Click the right one, and you get a point. You can choose from addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
To play Table Tiles, I actually had to read the rules. At first glance you think “Scrabble”, but it seems a little harder. The object is like Scrabble to create valid words using the 7 tiles given to you. This is awesome for putting on your thinking cap and widening your vocabulary. I think I will be stuck on this one a while. I love a thinking game. Ok, well yeah… I know I said that I am addicted to Angry Birds. Moving on…
Giggle Pad is adorable. It teaches colors, shapes, letters and numbers all in one. Just touch the screen and it lights up with a random letter number or shape and announces “Orange Star”, or “Green Rectangle”. There are 2 modes included. Play Phone is a keypad that recites the numbers when pushed. It even makes a pretend phone call. Tap Shapes teaches kids their shapes using colorful shapes that float across the screen. Another hidden gem in this game is that dragging your finger across the screen causes it to sing to you. I’m sure this would keep a small toddler occupied for a long time. 🙂
There are plenty of other awesome interesting games in the Marketplace under the Family category. Many are FREE, and others cost only .99 or so. The marketplace is not yet as full as the competitors, but there is some good stuff in there.
Besides the learning games, the Samsung Focus UI also makes it very easy for kids to do things like take a picture, listen to music, or even expand the gaming horizon by delving into the XBox Live area of games.
And load up the Amazon Kindle app with your child’s favorite books, and you are set for a road trip, wait in the docs office, or more.
The design of the Windows Phone OS makes it easy for kids with small hands to navigate and get where they need to go. You would be surprised how quickly they catch on and learn. The responsiveness is awesome. It’s not like some other phones where you click something and wait and wait for something to happen. It actually responds when you touch it, so impatient children won’t get discouraged.
Disclosure: The Samsung Focus was provided to me with service for a 30-day review. All opinions are my own.