The robotic toy dog first introduced as ‘SmartPet’ at the Tokyo Toy Show will arrive in the UK on November 3rd.
Re-branded as TechPet for the UK market, the dog incorporates an iPhone or iPod touch into its animatronic body. Just like a real dog, it needs to be taken care of and - when taught correctly - can perform tricks on command. The four legged friend can also take calls and play games and music.
The free TechPet app can be used when the phone is removed from the toy, so people can continue to look after their pet, levelling up and earning rewards for it while on-the-go.
See a full range of features in the video on our YouTube page.
TechPet is set to RRP at £59.99.
With its cute Japanese 'kawaii' style and nurturing gameplay, obvious comparisons are being drawn between this robodog and the legendary Tamagotchi.
And just like it did with Tamagotchi, Bandai UK believes that it has an ‘of the moment’ product with TechPet - one which really makes the most of the 'app toy' concept as it utilises a full range of the iPhone’s features; the touch screen, camera and microphone, all in an animatronic package.
Bandai UK has only invested in a “small” number of units and therefore all marketing for this low-risk venture will be below-the-line.
The TechPet campaign started with a launch event at the W Hotel in Leicester Square.
Should the toy be a fast-seller – or cause excitement akin to what Tamagotchi did in the '90s – then more units should arrive in the UK in early next year.
The product is currently available in white only, but a black version that's selling in Japan, as well as a potential new version to suit the iPhone 5, could provide room to manoeuvre in 2013.
TechPet's main retail partners are John Lewis, Toys R Us, Argos, The Entertainer and Amazon.
Brand manager Chris Pearce said: “Following the release in Japan earlier this year and winning the award for best ‘Innovative toy’ at Tokyo Toy Fair 2012 we are eagerly anticipating the launch here. At £59.99 we believe that the toy offers real value for money with over 100 separate functions.”