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Robotic Ponies...Portable Projectors... for Kids

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A shift in strategy for traditional toymakers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Hasbro may be best known for GI Joe and Mr. Potato Head…and games like Scrabble….but to capture the attention of lots of kids today…the company has to battle iPods and the latest generation video game console. Chief Operating Officer Brian Goldner…

"Well at Hasbro, we saw a few years ago how tweens were leaving the traditional toy departments and looking for lifestyle electronics."

Among the strategies….make products that kids can use along with their iPods or video game machines. The company's iDog…a toy dog with blinking lights…motors and built in speakers….connects to MP3 music players. And for kids who love video games….there's a new console …the Ion…for younger children….that puts them in the games with a built in camera. And for those tweens…Hasbro will go nationwide with the Zoombox. A projector with a DVD player that lets kids plug in game consoles to play their games on a giant screen….on a wall. The price… 250 dollars. Even higher priced… …is a kind of robotic miniature pony…

"In the case of a product like Butterscotch, it's really about the consumer insight for a younger girl. A 4 to 7 year old girl who has always dreamt of having a pony as a pet. And it's this nurturing experience we're trying to create. It's not about the technology. It's really about getting Butterscotch to respond to her touch."

The robotic Pony…part of the Furreal Friends line….arrives this fall for about 300 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.