The “Charatter,” as it’s known, is Japan’s first tweet-reading character toy. It received an unusually large number of pre-orders online, and has been enjoying brisk sales since its Nov. 30 launch, says a WiZ spokeswoman, though the company doesn’t disclose sales numbers.
How does it work? Users first download a special Charatter application either via iPhone or PC. This free software developed by WiZ translates the tweets into sound and sends it to a speaker inside the bear toy, which then reproduces the message out loud in a robotic voice. Not cute enough? How about this — its little lips actually move in sync with the sound.
One word of caution: There’s no button on the bear itself to change the volume of its voice (though users can do so via the iPhone or PC), so be careful if the friends you follow frequently tweet about embarrassing subjects.
WiZ says the idea for some kind of talking toy came about after the number of Twitter users began to increase sharply in Japan last spring. Several ideas came and went during the development stage, including a tweet-reading bird, an obvious association from the Twitter logo. “In terms of cuteness, everyone agreed that the bear was the best,” said the WiZ spokeswoman.
WiZ currently has no concrete plans to sell it outside Japan, although the company would be interested in opportunities to take it overseas, the spokeswoman says. (The Wall Street Journal)