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DreamWorks Launching Tablet With Original Programming

NEW YORK *TheStreet) -- DreamWorks Animation  (DWA - Get Report) is reportedly planning to announce a tablet computer especially for children which will feature special programming based on characters featured in its popular animated movies.

The announcement will be made at next week's CES electronics industry show in Las Vegas.

DreamWorks shares were up 1% in early trading Friday, to $35.50.

According to the New York Times, DreamWorks is partnering with privately-owned Fuhu, the California-based company currently manufacturing the popular Nabi line of tablets. Two million Nabis were reportedly sold worldwide in 2013.

DreamWorks and Nabi worked together on the Nabi 2 Disney (DIS) Edition tablet for kids.

The new tablet, the DreamTab, will feature special programming based on popular characters from DreamWorks films including "Shrek", "Madagascar", "Kung Fu Panda" and "How To Train Your Dragon," in addition to educational applications aimed toward young children.

Newly featured programming will be downloaded automatically to the device. The system is said to be like a private "cable channel" for children. Jim Mainard, DreamWorks' digital strategy/new business development boss told the Times, "We could push out a new character moment every day of the year."

But it is designed to be used for more than just fun and games. The tablet will also allow children to send instant messages and emails to their parents' smartphones. Fuhu's chief executive Jim Mitchell says "We want to transform the way kids play, learn and grow through technology".

DreamTab is also said to be able to wirelessly interact with other DreamWorks branded products and toys.

Detailed specs haven't been announced, but the hardware has been described as having an eight-inch touchscreen and a stylus pointing device.  The DreamTab will run on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system. Both companies involved described the tablet as being similar in computing power to an Apple (AAPL) iPad. The price is expected to be in the "under $300" range.

The DreamTab should reach retailers this spring. A second model with a 12-inch display is reportedly in the works for release later in 2014.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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