CCrane WIFI2 Radio

Is it a Toy or a Computer

Boot Camp feature for Monday, February 23, 2004

Is it a toy or a computer? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The chips being used in more and more toys for kids are growing in capability all of the time. Especially those used in learning toys from companies like LeapFrog, Fisher Price and Oregon Scientific. Oregon Scientific has been specializing in creating toy laptops for kids, licensing the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands from Mattel. Senior market manager Ian Desberg says the design gives kids a chance to pretend and learn….

"They have their own laptop with a number of activities. Most of our laptops are bi-lingual…come with fifty activities or so, ten in Spanish."

Some of the toys at the upper end now include large LCD screens along with a keyboard and mouse and can link to a PC….

"One of our top laptops is enabled with a USB connection and it's able to be connected to mom and dad's computer in order to get on our own safe site, Internet site. And they can build their own Web site through that."

One issue Oregon Scientific and other toy makers face is many kids are becoming used to using real computers and video game consoles. So toys with lower end graphics may have a hard time holding the interest of children. Desberg says as computer chip and display prices fall…the toys will have color screens and more of the capabilities of real laptop computers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.