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Will the Fly Fly?

Techstination feature for Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Will the Fly…fly? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. LeapFrog, the educational technology toy company that created the LeapPad is planning to introduce what it calls a pen top computer named the Fly. It is thicker than your usual pen….requires special dotted paper…and comes with built in software. A dictionary, Spanish language translator, a calculator, musical keyboard and some games. What's really unique here…is you draw a calculator or keyboard on paper…and they work…when you tap on them with the Fly pen. LeapFrog CEO Tom Kalinske says that's just the start…

"For the first time LeapFrog is opening up the platform and inviting partners in. We'll still do a fair amount of the educational content ourselves. For example, we have a math program built into the pen. But we're inviting partners like Upper Deck, for example, where you take Upper Deck's baseball cards and you can play a very entertaining fantasy baseball game on the Fly."

The plan is start selling the Fly for 99 dollars by the fall of this year. Initially it will be aimed at 9 to 14 year olds. But with the special paper needed…how expensive might the Fly be to use?

"It'll be 99 dollars then I would immediately buy the math software that gets into the more advanced mathematics, and I believe that'll be about a 24.95 purchase. And then maybe a few extra pads of paper for seven dollars and I'd be done for the year. That I think would last me for a good year."

Kalinske says there is a lot more software in the pipeline for the Fly system…including programs for high school and college students and adults. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.