One of my favorite apps of 2010 just got a major update. Tales2Go, which provides on-demand access to nearly 1,300 children's audiobooks, updated the app to add multitasking support, story caching for offline listening, new subscription options, and more.
Intended for children between the ages of 3 and 11, Tales2Go offers a huge range of listening material--everything from two-minute fables to full-length novels. These aren't just public-domain works, either: you'll find well-known series like "American Girl," "The Boxcar Children," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and "Encyclopedia Brown."
For any given story or chapter you've queued up, the app now downloads and caches it locally. That's a major improvement, as it overcomes the problem of spotty or nonexistent Internet access. Unfortunately, it can do this for only the currently selected title; you can't cache multiple books for, say, a long road-trip. The developer is working on "a more comprehensive caching function."
Speaking of road trips, the long-overdue addition of multitasking means you can now run your GPS app (or anything else you might need) while Tales2Go keeps spinning tales. It also solves a minor gripe I had with the app not auto-resuming from where you left off.
A new sharing option lets you e-mail a story recommendation, and a new replay button lets you jump back 30 seconds in case you missed something in the story.
Finally, Tales2Go 2.0 now offers more than just the $24.99-per-year unlimited-streaming subscription option (which I still think is a steal). You can add one month for $2.99 or three months for $6.99. And that's after the initial 30-day free trial.
Even better, any subscription option now lets you register up to five iOS devices instead of just one. That's a huge and welcome change; it used to frustrate me greatly that my paid subscription couldn't extend to my daughter's iPod Touch. Now it can.
Tales2Go is still a little buggy. It's often slow to load, and at times the controls locked up on me. Also, the test "sharing" e-mail I sent to myself never arrived. Other than that, the app remains high on my list of must-haves for parents.