LittleBits Electronics to Debut NYC Pop-Up Store

LittleBits store exteriorLittleBits Electronics Inc. is opening its first store in New York City. Located in the SoHo district, the pop-up store will open to the public on July 31.

[Read more...]

Barnes & Noble Throws the Book at Toy Retail

This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of The Toy Book.

Science CenterThe great American bookstore has made room for a great American toy store.

Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the U.S., with nearly 650 stores nationwide, as well as a thriving web presence. But in recent years, the bookstore chain has also been expanding its non-book offerings, balancing out shelves of New York Times bestsellers with educational toys, games, and collectibles.

[Read more...]

Q&A with Eva Lorenz, Category Leader, Amazon Toys & Games

Eva Lorenz, AmazonThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers to drive sales?

Eva Lorenz (EL): Amazon customers, particularly busy parents, appreciate having the ability to shop on their own time and from the comfort of their own home or while on-the-go using a mobile device. They also love having access to the largest selection of products and all the information they needcomprehensive product details, high-resolution images, video content, and customer reviews–to make informed purchasing decisions. We consistently deliver on these promises to customers, which has earned their trust and keeps them coming back to shop on Amazon. [Read more...]

RadioShack to Carry LittleBits’ New Smart Home Kit

LittleBits,RadioShackThis holiday season, littleBits Electronics has entered a partnering with RadioShack for a product roll out in 2,000 stores nationwide. RadioShack is the first nationwide brick and mortar retailer to carry littleBits, which was previously available online and through boutique stores.

Beginning this month, RadioShack locations will carry littleBits’ new Smart Home Kit, which features a series of modules that lets users turn everyday objects into smart devices, or recreate popular smart devices. The Smart Home Kit comes with 14 Bits, including the new MP3 Player, Threshold, Number, Temperature Sensor, and IR Transmitter Bits. It also includes an infographic poster with project ideas and 11 accessories, including an AC switch that connects the littleBits 5V system to AC power (110V).

The Smart Home Kit is compatible with all other littleBits kits.

littleBits Launches bitLab to Help Users Build and Sell Their Own Hardware

littleBits1Today, 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...]

COMMENTARY: Play Me a Song, Sweet Music Kit

rockstarlittleBits,the creator of an open-source library of electronic “Bits,” that snap together with magnets for learning and play, partnered with Korg, a leading global manufacturer of electronic musical equipment, to create a kid-friendly, music-making machine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action. On November 7, the new littleBits Synth Kit was unveiled at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The collaboration of Korg with littleBits may not seem obvious, but it is actually genius. This new synthesizing kit is perfectly designed for the use of everyone—from professional musicians to hobbyists with an interest in making new sounds and pushing the boundaries in technology and music. Using the kit, music lovers can build infinite customizable sounds from practically anywhere.

littleBitsAt the event, attendees were given the opportunity to play with the brightly colored and multi-functioning Synth Kits, listening to the created sounds through Korg headphones. It was such a neat experience, as I felt like a music master using equipment like that used to produce the innovative sound of revolutionary bands such as The Beatles and The Doors, and modern artists such as The Cure and MGMT. It’s such an awesome way for kids to get involved in music at an early age. Yes, most children are able to utilize musical instruments and their voices, but this is such a unique opportunity for kids to get involved in the music production industry. Little musicians can explore the world behind the music with the sound of the synthesizer instrument. Even better, the “Bits” are interchangeable and can be constructed in different ways for different sounds, so kids can build their own sound machines and choose their favorite outcomes. The Bits modules included with the kits snap together instantly using magnets that create circuits. These circuits are similar to those used in Korg’s analog synthesizers, so the quality of these kits is amazing, truly. [Read more...]