A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

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Techpet 3Bandai’s TechPet is a robot pet toy dog with an iPhone for a face. Users take care of the TechPet, level it up and earn rewards. TechPet is an example of an app toy, toys that in one way or another incorporate a smart device application into a play experience with a toy.

The winner of the award for best ‘Innovative toy’ at Tokyo Toy Fair 2012, called SmartPet in Japan and re-branded as TechPet for the UK market, the electronic dog TechPet incorporates an iPhone or iPod touch into its animatronic body. Like a Tamagotchi, it needs to be taken care of and can be taught to perform tricks on command. TechPet can also take calls and play games and music. The TechPet app, downloadable for free, can be used also when the phone is removed from the toy, so the user can continue to look after the pet, level it up and earn rewards while on-the-go.

Like with Tamagotchi, Bandai believes that it has a hit product with TechPet – one that really makes the most of the ‘app toy’ concept as it utilises a full range of the iPhone’s features; the touch screen, camera and microphone – combined with an animatronic package. Still, the marketing in Europe will be kept relatively low-key for the time being.