LeapFrog is getting an early jump on the holiday shopping season with the announcement of new versions of its popular children's tablet and handheld games system, both of which are due to launch this summer. The upgraded LeapPad tablet — dubbed the LeapPad2 — adds some new features to the device, while maintaining backwards compatibility with LeapFrog game cartridges and kid-friendly apps. Among the changes are longer battery life, a faster processor, higher resolution cameras for both front and rear, and 4GB of memory — double what's available on the current LeapPad. The LeapPad2 also comes packed with free content, including art, writing, and cartoon apps. It will retail for $99.99.
On the gaming side, the new LeapsterGS is the successor to the Leapster Explorer, and like the LeapPad2 remains backwards compatible with both game cartridges and digital content. The device itself is thinner than its predecessor, and features a larger screen, faster processor, 2GB of internal memory, and a built-in motion sensor, camera, and video recorder. It too comes with some free content, including the game Escape the Sillies, which makes use of the camera and face-morphing technology to create what we can only assume is an incredibly goofy experience that kids will just love. Both devices will be available for pre-order in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland on July 18th, before coming to the rest of the world in early August.