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Will Furby be the big kids tech-gift for Xmas?

While ‘wee-tee-kah-wah-tee’ won’t mean a great deal to most of you, over 40 million people across the world have a fair chance of knowing that it means, “Sing me a song”. To put that number in perspective, it’s around the same as the number of people on the planet who speak Polish. How much will that number grow this holiday season?

Early electronic games were all a little hit and miss, but – every now and then – something like the Stylophone would come along and capture the imagination. Check this video, but skip through to 0:56 to get an idea of how it was invented and what it sounded like as part of a chorus.

More recently, the dedicated consoles have taken a huge wad of Xmas dosh, especially around the launch of the original DS product from Nintendo – a trick that the company will be hoping to replay with its new console launch this year.

December 2012 will be the 3rd time that Furby has attacked our stores and wallets. This time around, the soft-fur-wrapped electronics will come with much more advanced LCD eyes, a big range of emotions and – of course – Apple compatibility with its very own dedicated App.

Ask top Furby stockist where you can find the little creatures - and the site helpfully suggests an alternative

While Furbies ship with a range of movements, noise-reactions and vocabulary already installed – they are learning devices and will grow in capability the longer you keep them. The new ones also change from being angels to being mischief makers – according to the kind of parenting they have been given.

Then there’s the modding community or circuit benders, as they like to call themselves. Regular computers and electronics work on a very simple ‘on/off’ version of the world, pretty much like a light switch. Circuit benders love nothing more than adding ‘randomising’ bits of circuit to existing products – so the resulting behaviour can’t be predicted. Psycho Furbies R Us will have a full range of modded devices, no doubt.

Furby originally hit the market in 1998, as the American Toy Fair. It was a very different world, where system memory was measured in megabytes, mobile phones just made calls, Apple Computer was on the ropes and pinning all its hopes on something called an iMac, AMD ruled the desktop world and no one could imagine a future without Intel and Microsoft.

For 2012, a much more advanced Furby will be on the shelves, speaking its own language and trying to understand the words and phrases of children in more than 24 languages.

iPad/Phone aware Furby will be available from just over £60 - but will it sell in millions?

KitGuru says: We don’t expect Furby 2012 to be as popular as Turbo-Man in Jingle All The Way, but something like this learning doll will, no doubt, sweep the world at some point in the next few years. Kids love companionship and being in charge, both of which can be in short supply with modern parents. Furby certainly fills a gap – as more than 40 million kids have already discovered. Let’s see if the little critter can network with his buddies, learn at an exponential rate and be ready to launch missiles by August 4th.

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