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Feature Review

Hello Barbie
Price: $75
Runs on: Smart Toy, iPhone or Android device required ...
Ages: 4-up
For grades: P, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Teaches: speech and language
On first glance, "Hello Barbie" looks a lot like the regular blond doll that has attracted much debate about gender issues and toys (she does have slightly fatter legs).

Inside, however, this Barbie is more akin to a computer, with Wi-Fi, rechargeable batteries, LEDs, microphone and speaker; plus a link to a remote server with Siri-like technology so that she can carry on a carefully scripted conversation, pulling from 8,000 lines of conversation.

In order to make Barbie work, you have to first download an app and set up and sync Barbie to your Wi-Fi network. This is a one time process. From now on, Barbie will be able to send information to/from the cloud if she is picking up a valid signal. You can tell if she is by the color of the LED light on her pendant. Keep in mind that Barbie will only be able to talk if she is within range of your Wi-Fi signal.

The dialog technology was developed by ToyTalk for Mattel (see SpeakaZoo) which means the language information is sent to a remote server, stored, and sent back. Other facts about this Barbie: She can talk for about an hour before she needs to be charged and she can't be undressed (just her jacket and accessories). And she obviously can't take a bath.

Read more about the seven challenges Hello Barbie faces: http://childrenstech.com/blog/archives/17002

Read more about the ToyTalk technology behind Barbie, here: http://blog.toytalk.com/post/111514058319/mattels-hello-barbie-powered-by-toytalk.

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CTR Mar 15 New Release Entered 02/18/2015 by Warren Buckleitner, Modified 12/13/2016 by LD