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Electronics Big Focus at Toy Fair

February 18, 2005

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The big new focus at the American International Toy Fair, which opens February 20 in New York, is electronics. More than perhaps any other year, toy manufacturers are focusing on using gadgets and gimmicks to endear kids to their toys.

Among the toys being introduced at the weeklong fair are the following:

  • From Fisher-Price come Winnie the Pooh Knows Your Name and Elmo Knows Your Name. Each has a mini computer interface that can remember certain information, like a child's name, birthday, favorite games, etc. Parents use a CD-ROM and cable connection to download the child's information into the toy, which talks to the child like its new best friend.
  • Hasbro is bringing back the Furby with a new technology—called emotronics—that more effectively enables the toy to "come to life." The Furby will also be able to have basic conversations with the child and can recognize words like "hungry."
  • Mattel is rolling out Pixel Chix, a small handheld house that contains an electronic, animated "friend" for the child to interact with.

The continued advancement in electronics, coupled with the incredibly shrinking size of new microchips, have made such toys possible without big price tags.

The toy fair, which runs through Wednesday this year, is the largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere.

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