TechPet hands-on preview

Give a dog a phone

Remember the Tamogotchi craze? Of course you remember the Tamagotchi craze, you were probably sat in a corner stroking the thing for 23 hours a  day, panicking about whether you should feed it, or play with it, or tell it a story…or if you should go to bed because it’s 5 in the morning and you’ve got an exam in three hours. Am I talking about myself? Of course not.

If that was you, get ready to relive those nights of sweaty addiction (keep it clean) as your friends, family and workmates wonder why you’ve suddenly started breast feeding yet another electronic animal.

Introducing TechPet – an App based toy which hooks up with your iPhone or iPod Touch to create a tail-wagging, water-lapping, face-licking, running-round-the-block, poo-on-your-carpet robotic dog. Well, the tail wagging bit was accurate anyway.

Download the free app, slot your phone/pod into the holder, and the TechPet (I’ve called mine Earvin), is capable of responding to voice and gestural interactions and can perform tricks such as walking, dancing and singing triggered by voice and image recognition using the Facetime camera. There are a number of different doggy faces you can choose from and you can even slap a photo of your own mug on there and make yourself the TechPet. I can’t decide if that’s a wonder of modern technology, or the creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.

TechPet also works as a hands free speaker, bobbing it’s head to your music,  and if you switch your Bluetooth on, your little robo-mutt can interact with other TechPets, so they can all sing, dance, and poo together. There’s even something called a ‘Friendship Test’ to see if they’re compatible. Sounds a bit like an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

I was at the TechPet launch event in London yesterday, and I got to try a TechPet out for myself.  Now, I’m a 32 year old man, and these things are being squarely marketed at 10-20 year olds, but I can’t lie, I had a fun time brushing it’s teeth, feeding it coffee (it didn’t like it, apparently) and chasing it round the display table.  It would be really cool if these things could guard your front door at night and scare off potential burglars, but I suspect Bandai would have to alter their promotional strategy for that.

TechPet will come in black and white. No jokes about mixed-breed puppies please. Aint gonna happen.

Check out the video below. TechPet has just been released in Japan, where I’m sure they’re already queuing round the block for it. We’ll have a review of this little robotic bitch…sorry, er…pooch, when it hits the UK in November. Woof.



For more TechPet information, visit

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