Smartphone maker extraordinaire HTC announced its latest acquisition today: independent software developer Inquisitive Minds. The company's primary product is Zoodles, a safe mode for desktop, tablet and smartphone browsers that allows kids to surf the web safely and ease parents' minds. HTC says that Inquisitive Minds will continue to operate separately, but you can expect the company's software to find its way into future HTC Android devices.
HTC has been on a spending spree of late, investing $300 million in Beats Audio and buying a significant portion of video game streaming company OnLive. Zoodles will cost the manufacturer $13 million, which is relatively small given their other investments. Since kid-friendly modes for Android is gaining some traction with the Motorola XOOM Family Edition, it seems like a wise purchase. Zoodles will continue to develop for other platforms and devices, but HTC will presumably have first pick of its software. Zoodles is already included on some HTC devices like the Flyer tablet.
If you've never used Zoodles, it's basically a heavily monitored and filtered browser/development platform. The bright an extra-large user interface allows kids to learn the basics of web browsing, while ad blockers and content filters keep them from accessing anything they shouldn't. Zoodles is expandable as well, with educational apps and games playing via extensions. There's even a selective block feature that allows parents to block specific parts of games if the cutesy characters get too annoying. You can try out Zoodles Kid Mode on the Android Market now for a preview of what you'll be seeing in your next HTC smartphone or tablet.