Source: Vtech/the Toy Book

The Toy Book chats with Andy Keimach, president of VTech Electronics North America, about what it takes to create engaging, kid-friendly tech toys and what to expect from the company this year.

Toy Book: How does VTech continue to stay on top of current trends in technology and incorporate them into products for kids?

Andy Keimach: As a leader in the children’s electronics space and a pioneer in the children’s wearable technology category, VTech has always been at the forefront of innovation. We know that kids want to have the same cool technology as adults, but those devices aren’t designed for them. In order to tap into these trends, we look to adult tech for inspiration and then adapt it in smart, engaging ways with safe and secure devices that support the way kids play. Our approach and expertise in kids’ technology has led to a full line of Kidi electronics featuring some of our most popular and successful products, including the KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2, KidiBuzz G2 smart device, and KidiZoom Creator Cam.

TB: Is safety a top priority for VTech? Why can parents and caregivers feel good about letting their kids enjoy technology using VTech products?

AK: Children’s safety is absolutely a top priority for VTech. While our children’s electronics may look and feel like adult devices, they were designed and developed for kids with safety in mind, which means parents don’t need to bog down their own devices with hefty parental controls and permissions. Our new KidiZoom Smartwatch DX3 is a kid-friendly smartwatch with no WiFi, yet kids can still share messages to and play games with another DX3, so it doesn’t compromise the innovative features and design. We know how important safety is and we want parents to feel secure when they are giving their child a VTech or LeapFrog product.

Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 | Source: Vtech

TB: How important is tech literacy for today’s kids? How do VTech toys help them learn these skills?

AK: We conducted a survey last year that revealed that parents think their kids will be more tech-savvy than they are by the time they turn 10 years old. Kids are growing up in a world where tech is omnipresent, and when they are introduced to technology at an early age, they become more comfortable and familiar with it, making it easier for them to adapt.

Our Kidi product line provides opportunities for kids to explore technology in kid-friendly, age-appropriate ways, offering on-trend features combined with safe, engaging content for active kids. For example, our upcoming KidiBuzz G3 offers more of those adult tech features kids are looking for, including a new KidiCom Chat messaging app with video sharing, 3D screen effects, and a MagLens for up-close photos. These are the features that will likely be on devices when they age out of toys, so giving them a safe way to explore them is important as they develop their tech literacy.

Related: State of the Industry Q&A 2021: VTech

TB: What new innovations from VTech do kids and families have to look forward to this year?

AK: In addition to our new KidiZoom Smartwatch DX3, we are excited to introduce the KidiZoom PrintCam, which is a kid-friendly digital print camera that kids can use to instantly create black-and-white photo prints. It is packed with fun features like special photo effects; panoramic prints; a comic strip maker; games; and a print shop to design cards, play money, and more. Since it prints on thermal roll paper and not expensive proprietary photo stock, kids can print as many as they want, and it won’t break the bank.

We are also adding the KidiGo Basketball Hoop — which will have basketball fans shooting baskets and keeping score with games and challenges for indoor fun ­— to the Kidi collection. And, we are expanding our popular robotics line with Ivy the Bloom Bright Unicorn, which has color-changing features; Glitter Me Kitten, which gives kids a temporary glitter stamp; and Hope the Healing Husky, which lets kids explore nurturing role-play by nursing her back to health.

For LeapFrog, we are introducing LeapLand Adventures, a unique plug-and-play learning game for preschoolers that’s built for the TV and doesn’t require any additional downloads or account setup, so kids can start playing and learning right out of the box as they explore different lands and levels. Plus, our award-winning LeapStart interactive learning system is being updated with a new modern design and books that gets kids excited about learning.

This article was originally published in the May 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!

About the author

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva

Marissa Silva is editor-in-chief of the Pop Insider and the Toy Insider, the leading consumer holiday gift guide and toy review and news website. As a professional toy reviewer and an industry expert, she consistently reports on toy, entertainment, and pop culture trends and hot products. In addition to digital content management, Marissa contributes feature-length articles to the Pop Insider and leading toy industry trade magazine The Toy Book, providing retailers, manufacturers, and licensors with information on the latest in toy news. Marissa has been featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, ABC World News Now, MSNBC, CBS, NY1, WPIX, and more. A board game fanatic and professional toy reviewer, she spends most of her free time shopping for superhero T-shirts, crushing at Mario Kart, and anxiously awaiting her Hogwarts acceptance letter. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thattoygirl.