Tokyo Toy Show Update: iPhone Powering Next Generation of Toys

It appears your iPhone will not only be vital for keeping you in touch with the world, and up-to-date on all of its happenings, but also for powering your children’s toys.

The Tokyo Toy Show wrapped up last week in Tokyo, Japan, and attendees of the week-long event were treated to innovative new toys sure to keep your kids (and possibly even yourself) entertained.

The most intriguing of the new toys on display was the SmartPet, winner of the innovation toy category award. Upon first glance, the SmartPet looks like the cutting room floor remnants of a discarded toy dog. It has the framework of a cute little white doggy in place, save for the giant space between its floppy white plastic ears where a head should be.

But wait; whip your iPhone out and stick it into the gaping hole, and voila, the iPhone screen lights up to display a cute canine face that accurately represents your virtual pet's (for that's what SmartPet effectively is) current mood. Of course, you'll first need to download the SmartPet app, or you'll be stuck staring at a blank iPhone and questioning your sanity.

While virtual pets are nothing new in and of themselves, the way in which your SmartPet is controlled is. There's Siri voice recognition in place so you can give voice commands to your pet pooch, or simply tell it your greatest hopes and dreams. Your SmartPet can perform tricks, you can feed him virtual doggy treats, and he can even play your music; try getting a real dog to do that!

Bandai's SmartPet wasn't the only virtual iPhone powered pet in town (or on the show floor) though. Takara Tomy also showed off their i-Sodog, a cute little robo-dog that can be controlled with your iPhone to dance, perform tricks, or simply walk around and wag its tail.

Finally, there was the plush Cocolo Bear, which can speak 600 different words when connected to an iPhone 'bear'ing the appropriate app. The bear can even be used as a hands-free mobile device if desired.

The SmartPet goes on sale next month in Japan, while the i-Sodog is scheduled for a 2013 release.

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