Here in New York, the sun’s out, the snow’s melting, and Toy Fair is nearly at an end. I saw more tech-influenced toys this year than maybe ever before (and I’ve been at each Toy Fair for the past 6 years). I know this because of the pile of work I didn’t get to on Monday or Tuesday that I will soon have to plough through. I’ll put that off a little longer and post a few more highlights.I actually got referred to Hong Kong-based Blue Box Toys by another company: “You have to see their iPod stuff!” I’m glad I caught it.
The company has a line called B2 MiJam coming to the U.S. in late summer; each of the products is a music-generating device of some sort and connect up to digital audio players so you can jam along to your own music. (Or sing: one is a karaoke-style mic.) Here is a shy demoer playing the miJam guitar; she rocked. The toys will cost $20 to $50. I always look forward to seeing what LeapFrog is up to. I’ve been covering the company practically since it launched, and while imitators of innovative products like the LeapPad have appeared, LeapFrog had a big head start and still does it best.
And in 2005, PC Magazine gave the FLY Pentop Computer a best-of-the-year nod. This year, LeapFrog is introducing a new line of interactive learning products for babies, called Little Leaps Grow With Me Learning System. Junior can play with console (right) as a standalone “activity center; or parents can hook it up to the DVD player and it becomes a wireless remote for activities onscreen. When the baby becomes the toddler, the top of the device flips over, and it becomes a joystick. At $39.99 ($17.99 for additional disks) this will fly off shelves.I could write way more, but sadly, I have an actual job that I should really pay attention to. I made up a slideshow of lots of other tech toys, which should show up at PCMag.com soon. One last (nontechnical) item, for Star Wars geeks (left): Hasbro is reissuing five vintage figurines from the original three movies. If you collect ’em all and mail in stickers from each package, you will be sent, free of charge (drumroll) a George Lucas action figure (shown at top). Ain’t he cute?