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What is iZ?

Techstination feature for Friday, October 14, 2005

What is Iz? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. From the folks who brought you the Furby….of which 40 million were sold in the late 90s……comes iZ. Roger Shiffman, the former and President and co-founder of Tiger Electronics…has partnered with some of his old colleagues to form a company called Zizzle….and iZ…is the first product. It's a cartoonish looking three legged alien electronic toy…designed to hook up to an iPod or any other music player….

"We've put a very, very high quality speaker into it which allows you to plug in any music source with a standard eighth inch jack cord, which we also provide. So whether it be a Walkman, a CD player or of course an Apple iPod, or any other MP3 player, it now becomes a speaker for your iPod, or for your music source. And it still will interject comments because it does talk, it does have some strange comments. It does have some sound effects including burping and other bodily functions too numerous to mention. And you'll hear that while you're playing your music, while seeing the eyes bounce around."

iZ sells for about 40 dollars. The competition? Hasbro, which bought Tiger Electronics in 1998…is out with a next generation Furby….more interactive than ever, we're told. And Hasbro is also out with iDog….a robotic pet that plugs into iPods or other players. But Shiffman has high expectations for iZ…

"I don't want to jinx ourselves. However, I would have to say the response to the product is second to nothing that I've been involved with."

You can find more information at Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.