Toy Fair 2013: Ubooly is soft, squishy and smart thanks to the iPhone
Like Macworld/iWorld, Toy Fair 2013 is filled with products that began life as Kickstarter crowdfunding efforts; Ubooly is one of them. This combo of a plush bear and an iOS app received more than US$28,000 in funding on Kickstarter in April 2012. It later received $1.5 million in seed funding.
The Ubooly plush is an orange bear that appears to be missing its face. Users download the free app and activate it, then insert an iOS device into the plush upside-down to add a face. From there, a child can interact with the Ubooly in a number of ways, ranging from playing various games to telling jokes to simple stories.
The plush is padded with memory foam, so it can handle being thrown or dropped and you don't have to worry about damaging your iOS device by accident. Still, as with a lot of the toys that Mike Rose and I saw at Toy Fair yesterday, it's best to use an older iPhone or iPod touch with Ubooly. You can use iPhone models going back to the 3GS and iPod touches starting with the fourth generation.
The app also can be used on its own without the Ubooly pet. Outside of the plush, there are a number of mini-games that can be played and rooms for Uboolies that can be decorated using using in-app purchases. This is a great way to test the Ubooly with your child before investing in the plush toy. As with all situations with children using apps with in-app purchases, you should lock out store access so your child doesn't go overboard buying extras without your approval.
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