Because of some end of year travel, my side of the family celebrated Christmas early this year. The android phones as ipod touches that I mentioned in an earlier post have worked out great.
The key app to making this solution work for me is called Smart App Protector Free. It allows me to give this wifi connected handheld computer to my kids (both under 10) without worrying about what they might google or see on youtube or stumble across on the web. Smart App Protector lets me leave wifi on so they can have a text chat app with their cousins while blocking their access to youtube or google or the browser. I also have searching the market locked down because there are plenty of inappropriate apps there too.
Another nice solution I found is that I can leave their phones in airplane mode while turning wifi on (android 2.2) which makes it so the phone isn’t constantly searching for a cell tower to talk to (since the phones aren’t activated). This saves battery galore.
The kids both have their phones (LG Optimus Vs purchased for ~$50 new on black friday) loaded with game apps. They have also discovered how fun it is to be able to text their cousins and parents (and soon grandparents maybe).
I just wanted to follow up after my first post to say that the Android as an ipod touch has worked out great so far. I recommend this for other parents looking for a way to avoid buying a $200 ipod touch.