I’ve been thinking of getting a pet dog, but those furry companions can be a lot of work. More in line with my digital lifestyle would be something like the SmartPet. Winning the innovative toy category award at the Tokyo Toy Show, SmartPet essentially transforms your iPhone into a virtual pet dog.
It’s like a docking station, except it’s shaped like a little robot dog and your iPhone serves as its face. You’ll need the SmartPet app, of course, but that will allow your little plastic companion to wag its tail, walk around, sit up and more. And yes, there’s voice recognition in there for commands, as well as gestures and touchscreen interfaces. The iPhone “face” has several expressions too.
Considering that the SmartPet is coming by way of Bandai, it’s not surprising that some of its Tamagotchi digital pet heritage is spilling over too. You can add accessories, check the health of your digital pooch, feed virtual medicine through the touchscreen, and more. Unlike real dogs, the SmartPet can be used to play music too. Look for SmartPet to hit Japanese retailers later this month for 7,800 JPY (about US$100).