COMMENTARY: Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

TT12This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation.

Shameless self-promotion aside, tech toys are becoming harder and harder to sift through, so finding the perfect one for every kid can be difficult.  Of course, many in the industry, wandering the shopping aisles, and generally existing around toys know about Skylanders Swap Force and Disney Infinity, two new innovative video game platforms that mix digital and physical play, but they aren’t the only toys out there with exciting new technology. All of the toys on our Top Tech 12 list are great, but I picked a few favorites that are not only great technology innovations, but they also give kids other options of physical play—so they aren’t glued to a screen all day.

robodog_dalmatian_p9_go_pee_copy (1)Zoomer, from Spin Master, is a trainable robotic dog that is the perfect option for kids that want a pet and parents that want a clean house. Zoomer can be trained to respond to a bunch of different commands and tricks in three different languages (English, Spanish, and French). Zoomer learns kids’ voices and how to respond to these commands. He is adorably cute and lifelike. Left to his own devices, he’ll wander around the room, just like a real puppy. Zoomer’s LED lights blink and react making him seem more alive than your typical robots. [Read more...]

Hasbro’s Telepods Line Hits 1 Million Sold Mark

AngryBirds.StarWarsHasbro Inc. has reached the milestone of 1 million Telepods figures in consumers’ hands worldwide. Telepods, the digital gaming platform for mobile users, had launched with the Angry Birds Star Wars II game, from Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm, which became available less than a month ago.

Every copy of the Angry Birds Star Wars II app includes a Telepods mode for smart device users with front-facing cameras. Players can choose which characters they want to complete a level with by using Telepods including Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs. Fans download the app, tap the Telepods icon, place one of the more than 30 Angry Birds Star Wars figures on the included Telepods base, and then place the base on a smart device to “teleport” that figure into the game. Players can also unlock new characters and super powers in the app with Telepods.

Angry Birds Go!, an upcoming app franchise from Rovio, will also feature Telepods technology. A full line of Telepods enhanced figures and play sets are currently at retail in anticipation of the release of Angry Birds Go! app on December 11.

COMMENTARY: Big Rewards for a Little Bit of Cash

Sometimes kids deserve a special little treat—whether they refrain from crying at the dentist, got an extra star on their homework assignment, or behaved well on a long shopping trip, it’s nice to reward them for good behavior. Candy is a cheap, instant, and enjoyable treat, but we all know kids can do with a little less sugar (and, in turn, fewer painful dentist visits!).  There are some great inexpensive toys with lots of play value that will help reward kids for good behavior without breaking the bank or causing cavities.

ABSW Telepods Jedi vs Sith Multi-PacksAngry Birds Star Wars Telepods, from Hasbro, are sold in two-figure packs for less than $10. Kids can teleport the collectible figures right into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app, from Rovio Entertainment, on iOS and Android devices. Each figure has a unique QR code on the bottom, so kids can distinguish their characters from their friends’, even if they have the same ones. With more than 30 figures to collect, Hasbro also has compatible play sets at higher price points. With both virtual and physical play, Telepods is a great choice for a quick treat that will keep kids engaged for a long time. [Read more...]

Hasbro Launches New Telepods Line

ABSW Telepods Star Destroyer setHasbro Inc. will launch a new line that “teleports” physical characters into digital gaming and app experiences. The Telepods line uses patented new technology to allow kids to play in two ways: in the physical space and through full integration into top-tier apps. The Telepods play experience will first be available in a line released this August based on and fully integrated into the new app Angry Birds Star Wars II from Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm.

For the first time ever, Telepods lets players teleport Rebel Bird and Imperial Pig figures into the new Angry Birds Star Wars II app so they can choose which characters to launch. Following the release of Angry Birds Star Wars II, fans will be able to download the app, tap the Telepods icon in the app, place one of the more than 30 Angry Birds Star Wars figures on the included Telepods base, and then place the base on a smart device (not included) to immediately “teleport” that figure into the game.

Telepods are also the first digitally integrated toys designed with stand-alone playability in mind. An assortment of play sets will invite kids to launch their Rebel Bird figures in real life to destroy iconic Angry Birds Star Wars structures and topple the evil Pig Empire. Angry Birds Star Wars II will follow the story of the three prequel Star Wars movies. With the introduction of never seen before Angry Birds Star Wars characters, the player can for the first time in the history of Angry Birds choose to take the “Pork Side” and play as one of the green pigs. [Read more...]