As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), a landmark deal was reached between 54 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week that will extend duty-free treatment to more than 200 information technology products, including certain types of electronic games, toys, and other electronic accessories.
Seventy-one percent of households with a child ages 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone this year, up from 55 percent two years ago. Furthermore, incidence of ownership of media tablets doubled between 2012 and this year, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. Among those with kids in the household, 35 percent said that their child uses a smartphone, up from 21 percent two years ago. For media tablets, the figure was 31 percent, up from 13 percent two years ago.
As far as personal ownership of consumer electronic devices among children ages 4 to 14, portable devices were the only device group to exhibit steady increases in ownership among the children themselves. Incidence of personal ownership of cell phones—including traditional cell phones and smartphones—held steady at 19 percent this year. [Read more...]
Today, littleBits Electronics launched the bitLab, an app store for user-generated hardware. This marketplace furthers littleBits’ goal of giving hardware developers the tools and ecosystem to develop and sell their own littleBits modules.
Analogous to software app stores, the littleBits library acts as the platform, the Bits that developers submit are considered the apps, and the API is bitSnap, littleBits’ magnetic connectors. The operating system is the analog electronic specifications.
The bitLab works by allowing anyone to design the Bit of their dreams and has two major components: a hardware component (the HDK) and a web component (the bitLab website). The hardware developer kit (HDK) includes the Proto Module and bitSnap connectors, which makes the prototyping process a snap for developers. By commercializing littleBits’ proprietary bitSnap connectors—which are the magnetic connectors that snap the littleBits modules together and carry communication across modules—prototypes can now be built with any hardware tool and then seamlessly incorporated into the littleBits library. [Read more...]
Retail dollar sales for the toy category were up 23 percent for the Cyber Monday week compared to the same period last year. For the combined Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, The NPD Group reports that toy sales were up 12 percent on a dollar basis compared to the previous year. These sales trends include both online and brick and mortar channels.
The NPD Group noted that all 11 super categories it tracks in the toy sector experienced positive dollar sales growth during the period covering Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks. Those with the highest growth—and their respective change in dollar sales compared with Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks last year—include plush at 34 percent, youth electronics at 32 percent, arts and crafts at 26 percent, and outdoor and sports at 18 percent. These results reflect brick and mortar and online sales combined.
Australian toy company Moose Toys has launched The Ugglys, a new line of farting, burping, and trouble-making electronic pets. Each interactive Ugglys pet makes more than 30 rude and hilarious sounds that kids can warp using the tuning feature on the pet’s collar. Available exclusively at Toys “R” Us, each Ugglys is available in three Pug styles and is suitable for kids ages 5 and up.
Additionally, Moose Toys will be expanding its Trash Pack, a disgustingly fun line of garbage-inspired collectibles, Micro Chargers, and Blingles lines. Moose’s other new brands include the Zelfs—a line of quirky, collectible dolls—and Glitzi Globes, a do-it-yourself snow globe range.
littleBits, maker of an open source library of electronics that snap together for prototyping, learning, and fun, has launched three new littleBits Exploration Kits: the Base Kit, the Premium Kit, and the Deluxe Kit. Each was designed to bring the simplicity of the classic building block to the world of electronics for children, teens, and adults.
The new kits, available at littleBits.com and select specialty retailers, contain an assortment of color-coded electronic Bits modules that instantly snap together with magnets. Bits are color-coded into four categories (blue/power, pink/input, green/output, and orange/wires) to simplify the creation process for builders of all ages and allow users to create simple circuits, or more inventive projects like a Morse code machine, glow-in-the-dark puppet, or a bubble flute. Each kit includes customized, step-by-step instructions to start the building process.
The Base Kit contains an assortment of 10 modules, including a power module, three input modules, four output modules, two wire modules, and one 9V battery, and a handy project booklet with step-by-step instructions for eight creations. Kids can use the kit’s button, dimmer, and buzzer Bits to create a doorbell or turn the DC motor Bit into a tickle machine.
The Premium Kit contains 14 modules, including one power module, five input modules, five output modules, three wire modules, and one 9V battery for a wide range of building and design possibilities. Kids can use the kit’s sound trigger and fan Bits module to create a hypnotizing wheel or take the Kit’s roller and vibe modules and make a drawer alarm.
The Deluxe Kit, which is the biggest littleBits collection ever produced, contains 18 modules, including one power module, five input modules, five output modules, and seven wire modules, and an expanded project booklet featuring step-by-step instructions for 15 projects.
Sakar International will develop, market, and manufacture a new line of audio/video youth electronics with Kidz Bop. Merchandise will include karaoke machines, headphones, earbuds, speakers, and docking stations. Additional product will include DVRs and digital cameras tied to the Kidz Bop music series, which features today’s most popular songs, sung by kids for kids. Initial product is expected to hit shelves in the U.S. and Canada during the fourth quarter of this year.
On July 17, Kidz Bop will release Kidz Bop 22, the latest installment of the audio series. Kidz Bop will also launch its annual Kidz Star USA Talent Search, a national talent competition for kids 15 and under, which is hosted on KidzBop.com.
This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.
Nickelodeon Consumer Products International has signed a deal with Sakar to bring its Victorious-branded consumer electronics line to international markets for the first time. The two-year agreement will run until the end of December 2013, and covers all regions including Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America.
The extensive Victorious range will include the same products internationally as for the U.S., and will be aimed at girls ages 6-11 primarily. Products for retail include digital/video cameras and accessories, portable DVD players, digital keychain photo frames, clock radios, MP3/MP4 players, CD players and boomboxes, karaoke machines, other youth electronics devices, a range of computer accessories, iPhone/iPod kits and speaker docks, headphones, and video game accessories.