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LeapFrog announces Leapster Explorer on exactly the wrong day

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Way to get your news buried, LeapFrog. Oh well. Anyway, LeapFrog just announced the Leapster Explorer, a crazysexycool handheld device for four- to nine-year-olds. The device has a high-res touchscreen and allows for online play.

The Explorer takes over where the Leapster 2 left off and supports online play with the LeapWorld kit as well as learning apps, e-books, and videos. Think of it as a Nintendo DSi for kids who might not be ready for hardcore gaming.

We’ll have a review unit soon and I’ll be my kids are pretty excited. It’s shipping on July 15 for $69.

LeapFrog Leads the Way in Mobile Learning With New Leapster ExplorerTM Platform

Next-gen Device Combines Top-notch Handheld Tech With Online Experiences,

Giving Today’s Kids Limitless Ways to Discover and Play

EMERYVILLE, CA – June 7, 2010 – Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LF), creator of the #1 educational gaming handheld Leapster2, today announced the Leapster Explorer Learning Experience (www.leapfrog.com/explorer). Leapster Explorer, delivering more than 40 different learning and play experiences by year-end, offers an unprecedented combination of handheld and online play for four- to nine-year-old kids. Featuring a hi-res, finger-touch screen, Leapster Explorer supports downloadable LeapletTM Learning Apps, like e-Books and videos, and a click-in camera accessory, for high-tech, kid-tough learning and play. And Leapster Explorer players can access even more learning fun online in LeapWorldTM (), for a total mobile learning experience that offers kids new discoveries every time they play.

Leapster Explorer delivers the most powerful gameplay LeapFrog has ever offered-including Flash and 3D graphics-on LeapFrog’s biggest, brightest touch-screen yet. These capabilities have made possible premium enhancements to the personalized play experiences LeapFrog is known for. For example, not only can children create a personal on-board pet, they can take that pet with them into LeapWorld and back again onto Leapster Explorer, earning treats and accessories for their pet along the way. Auto-leveling gameplay, which has always set Leapster platforms apart, works on Leapster Explorer not just within games, but from game to game. Leapster Explorer stores information about a child’s progress and adjusts game and activity challenges in real-time, for learning adventures that keep kids going on their own path, at their own pace. And select titles also let players customize the curriculum, selecting their own spelling words or mathematics skill sets to load into games, effectively “doing their homework” as they play.

“We know that children are just as interested in today’s hottest technologies as their parents are,” said Craig Hendrickson, senior vice president and chief product officer. “So we are particularly excited to introduce Leapster Explorer, which combines cutting-edge capabilities like finger-touch and downloadable apps with solid educational content and kid-friendly durability. Add the online LeapWorld for kids and Learning Path for parents, and you have a breakthrough device that supports an incredible variety of ways to learn and play, all at a price that parents will like.”

Educational, Engaging, Entertaining Experiences

Leapster Explorer will be on shelves this July, with 12 cartridge games and 18 Leaplet Learning Apps. By year-end, more than 40 different learning play experiences will be available, an exceptionally broad selection for a platform in launch year. Leapster Explorer cartridge games offer a variety of experiences, from literacy skill-building with Woody and Buzz in Disney•Pixar Toy Story 3 to practicing phonics with everyone’s favorite mutants in Wolverine and the X-Men. Kids can also strengthen their mathematics skills with Disney Fairies and The Penguins of Madagascar. And they can learn about music with the Disney Princesses; about animals and geographical landscapes with Dora the Explorer; or about DNA with Ben 10, for a wide variety of “beyond basics” experiences that parents have told us they look for in educational gaming systems for their children.

Leapster Explorer also supports downloadable Leaplet Learning Apps, giving kids even more ways to discover something new while they play. Children can get word-by-word support as they flip through a Dora the Explorer e-Book, or learn about letter sounds with Leap, Lily and Tad in the Letter Factory video. Game App Jewel Train encourages kids to apply logic to place and adjust railroad pieces, and Sugar Bugs helps children learn dental hygiene as they defeat “plaque monsters.” Leapster Explorer also comes ready to go with Pet Pad, an onboard app that lets kids create a personal pet to join them on their learning adventures.

Online Connectivity Extends the Fun and Learning-for Kids and Parents

Kids can extend the fun by connecting Leapster Explorer to LeapWorld, LeapFrog’s online learning playground, a “walled garden” accessible only via the LeapFrog® Connect Application. Children can convert their Leapster Explorer gameplay accomplishments into LeapWorld tokens, using them to create a character, build a home, and customize both. Kids can also take their personal pet with them into LeapWorld, purchase virtual treats and shampoo, then bring their pet back to Leapster Explorer for on-the-go play. By allowing players to move back and forth from the handheld to an online world, Leapster Explorer gives kids an endless combination of learning experiences, in the ways they like to play.

Parents can have their own online experience with the one-of-a-kind LeapFrog Learning Path, where they can see what their children are learning as they play with Leapster Explorer. Regularly e-mailed updates allow parents to share children’s accomplishments, notice the areas in which they may need additional support and find new ideas for even more learning fun.

Availability

Leapster Explorer Learning Experience is currently available for pre-order from leapfrog.com and all major retailers and will be on shelves July 15, MSRP $69.99, in green or pink. Cartridge games are MSRP $24.99, and a pack of two Leaplet Learning App download cards is MSRP $14.99.

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