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The Next Jump for LeapFrog

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The next jump for LeapFrog. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a company that didn't even exist ten years ago. Today, LeapFrog is the top maker of electronic educational toys…and surpassed Fisher Price this past holiday season in sales of pre-school toys according to NPD Research. The company has had trouble keeping up with demand for its handheld Leapster device. Chief executive Tom Kalinske says it isn't designed to compete directly with Nintendo's Game Boy Advance….but…

"You know I have six kids and I've never been proud of the fact that I've bought a few Game Boys for my children. But I would be proud of buying a Leapster for my kids because now they're doing games that are good for them. Educational games that are just as much fun as what Nintendo has, only now they're really good for them. And the product is more than just games."

Kalinske says LeapFrog has had discussions in the past with Nintendo and other video game console makers about creating educational titles for those platforms….but he says….those companies felt that kind of software could hurt their image. LeapFrog has thought about building its own console system…but there's nothing in the works. It does have plans to take advantage of new technologies such as speech recognition…

"Speech recognition would be very valuable, particularly as we do more in language training. We have a large initiative this year in bilingual education, so there's a lot of Spanish-English products in our line this year."

LeapFrog CEO Tom Kalinske. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.