WAYNE, N.J. -- Toys R Us plans to launch its own tablet computer aimed at children called Tabeo on Oct. 21, a low-priced entry into the increasingly crowded tablet business.
The news comes ahead of the holiday season, which can account for up to 40 percent of retailers' annual sales. Toys R Us has focused on exclusive toys rather than discounts as it faces tough competition from online retailers like Amazon.com and discounters like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The 7-inch touchscreen tablet comes with 50 preinstalled apps selected for children, including games such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, and a book app called istorybooks. It will retail for $149.99 and runs on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.
Toys R Us sells other electronics including Apple Inc.'s iPad, but this is its first store-brand tablet. The Tabeo's main competitors include LeapFrog Enterprises' LeapPad and VTech's InnoTab.
In the privately held retailer's most recent quarter ended July 28, its net loss widened slightly from a year ago, hurt by weakness in Europe and a decline in video game sales.
The introduction hurt shares of LeapFrog, which fell 90 cents, or 9.8 percent, to $8.25 in morning trading Monday The stock had fallen 48 percent since the beginning of the year.