LeapFrog's new handheld console for kids

LeapFrog's Didj - an educational gaming console, launching in the US soon
LeapFrog's Didj - an educational gaming console, launching in the US soon

LeapFrog's latest internet-compatible handheld gaming console is now available for pre-order, but will it be able to compete with Nintendo's ubiquitous DS?

LeapFrog's web-connected Didj is not being marketed as a games console though.

Instead, LeapFrog is promoting the device as the "first completely customizable educational gaming platform."

Parents and kids play

LeapFrog's news release explains: "Players first select and personalize an avatar. Then they design the game, choosing background scenery, color schemes or music. Most important, parents and kids can then customize content, connecting gameplay with schoolwork. Multiplication hard to master? Kids can choose to be quizzed on the 6s, 7s and 8s tables. Spelling a stumbling block? Kids can create a custom spelling list."

The Didj's specs are as follows:

  • Processor: 393 MHz Arm 9
  • Display: 320x240 resolution
  • One 24-bit 2D layer (no hardware acceleration)
  • One 16-bit 3D layer
  • One YUV video layer (no hardware acceleration)
  • Graphics: API OpenGL ES 1.1--A reduced instruction set version of OpenGL for embedded systems
  • Main RAM: 32 MB DDRI 131 MHz
  • NAND Flash: 256MB for data storage/download content
  • Media Cartridge: 64MB
  • System Software: Brio--Firmware is built on an abstraction layer called Brio to make OS and hardware transparent to developers. This means all software must be ported to Brio to run on this device.
  • Screen LCD: 3.2 inches, 16.7-Million Color TFT

The Didj games

LeapFrog is making 9 games available at launch, at a cost of $29.99 each including SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog, Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants: Fists of Foam, and Indiana Jones. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is due out soon after launch.

The Didj is aimed squarely at 6- to 10-year-olds and is going to set back US parents $89.99

Adam Hartley