New Electronic Toys for 2011
Digital/physical crossovers on display at CES
Kids are getting more attention at the Consumer Electronics Shows. I first noticed in my second of five years covering the show, when they introduced the Kids@Play Summit. Though the area was much smaller this year than it has been in past years, there were still a lot of cool gadgets and toys for kids on the show floor.
Here were two of the more unique options I saw.
Angry Birds the board game
The toy company is releasing a physical version of the popular video game. Unlike the digital version, "Angry Birds: Knock On Wood" is designed to be a two-player game. One player builds the structure that is randomly selected from a deck of cards while the other person tries to knock down as many of the pigs that are placed around this structure as possible.
The first person to score 1,000 points is the winner. The downside is that this real world version of the game only has instructions for four levels—a far cry from the more than 100 levels available in the digital game.
Although players are free to construct their own structures, it doesn't have the flexibility that the video game does. When "Angry Birds: Knock On Wood" launches in May, it will cost $14.99 for a set. An Angry Birds card game is expected to launch at the same time for $5.99.
Another example of the physical and digital realms crossing over was Sphero. Though it looks like a normal plastic ball, it can actually be remotely controlled via a smart phone like the iPhone or the Android.
By moving a virtual joystick that appears on the touch screen or by tilting the phone around, you can move the Sphero in any direction.
It is a little difficult to control, but there are a number of possibilities. Orbotix, the developers of Sphero, are releasing one application free with the sphere—the one that lets you control the ball. They also plan to release other apps that will give players the ability to use Sphero for different games, like a tug of war app that has two people fight for control of the ball.
In addition, they have plans to let other people develop applications to control the ball. The Sphero is launching during the 2011 holiday season.
PHOTOS: (Top) Angry Birds the board game. (Bottom) Sphero, a ball than can be controlled by your iPhone or Android. (Photos Courtesy Aaron Broder)