Best Buy has partnered with Toshiba to create its own laptop geared toward a child audience, further expanding the retailer's presence in the actual manufacturing and development part of consumer electronics.
Best Buy revealed the news in a blog post, introducing the Satellite L635 Kids' PC as "a full-size laptop made for children aged five to 10 that provides a suite of entertainment and education software and allows parents to help ensure their children are staying safe on the Web."
It's unclear if the laptop will actually carry the Best Buy name or if it will just use the standard Toshiba labeling, but what is clear is that it will be sold exclusively at Best Buy and the retailer is very involved in the actual design process of the device.
For years Best Buy has sold its own "store brands" of electronics, including the Insignia, Dynex, and Geek Squad labels. But those were 100% designed and produced by a third party that just slapped Best Buy's labels onto their products. Best Buy's more recent initiatives have involved actually getting their hands dirty in the developent process of the products.
In addition to this new kid-centric computer, Best Buy is working on creating its own tablet computer.
This new trend is not something Best Buy invented. Amazon was the first to really break the mold and have it pay off, when it designed its own e-reader the Kindle.
It certainly sounds sensible when you think about it. By having a giant store create its own products, it's free to advertise the wazoo out of it. We've seen this with the Kindle and Nook, and will no doubt see it with Best Buy's line of in-house developed products as well.
Best Buy's also making a wise move here by opening up a very untapped market. It would be difficult to really gain notoriety for a standard, everyday laptop of which there are dozens already at Best Buy. But with a very niche product and a specific audience in mind, it could make waves.