Internet of Things startup Toymail, which sells connected plush toys to parents of younger kids who want them to have a playful alternative to a mobile phone, has now launched an app store.
How does a plush toy with no screen run apps, you might wonder? These are exclusively audio apps — in keeping with the original concept for the toys to put communications technology within the reach of younger kids (between two and eight) without having them fixate on a screen from such an early age.
Indeed, the Talkies — which is the name of the current gen of the toys — look more like teddy bears than mobile phones. But turn them around and there’s two buttons on the back for kids to cycle through their Toymail contacts, and record/send messages.
Parents can send messages to kids’ Talkies via the companion Toymail app on their smartphones. And now they can also load additional functionality onto the toys via the Toymail Cloud (aka it’s app store).
Apps available at this point include an app called Sleepie, which is supposed to send soothing bedtime sounds for helping put your kids to sleep, and one called Voicie, that adds “fun voice filtering” to the toy.
This first handful of apps has been built by Toymail, but the startup previously told us it plans to launch paid app content in future — so presumably some third party branded apps will be on way in future, opening up an additional app-based revenue stream for the hardware startup via relevant commercial tie-ups.
We’ve reached out to Toymail with questions but the company currently appears to be drowning in a deluge of email after appearing on SharkTank (where they also raised money) — so has yet to respond to our emails. We’ll update this post when/if they do.