passed along a link to the official Bandai press release about the tama phones.
PlayPhone and Bandai America Hatch Tamagotchi-Branded Mobile Phone for Kids
2007-03-27 16:46:04 -
ORLANDO, Fla., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- CTIA Wireless -- First introduced as a pocket-sized toy in 1996, the classic Tamagotchi virtual pet now comes as just one of the many features loaded onto a fully functional prepaid mobile phone for kids. The phone is being brought to retail through a joint effort between PlayPhone and Bandai America.
Bandai's original Tamagotchi virtual pet has sold more than 40 million units worldwide, with more than 12 million in the U.S. and Canada. Not only did the original toy spur a
pop culture phenomenon, but also created a new toy category and prompted countless imitations. During its peak, 15 Tamagotchi units were sold every minute in the U.S. and Canada.
The Tamagotchi-branded mobile phone is brightly colored and comes with an enhanced version of the original Tamagotchi toy as a mobile game and a custom Tamagotchi wallpaper. The Tamagotchi mobile game allows kids to "hatch" their virtual pet right on the phone and participate in feeding, cleaning up after and playing with the pet in an attempt to be a good parent and raise a well behaved Tamagotchi.
Unique to the Tamagotchi prepaid mobile phone is PlayPhone's ability to convert users' prepaid airtime minutes into mobile content credits that can be used on the TamaPhone.com Web site. Kids will be able to further customize their Tamagotchi phone with popular wallpaper, ringtones and games without having to use their parent's credit card.
In order to appeal to kids and their parents alike, the Tamagotchi phone will also come with strict, easy-to-use parental controls and a no-contract, pay-as-you-go system powered by PlayPhone's mobile storefront. In addition, parents can easily implement dialing access limitations for incoming and outgoing calls.
"The Tamagotchi phone will be the must-have accessory for every kid this summer," said Masao Ohata, vice president of Network Entertainment for Bandai America. "Instead of having two separate electronics, the Tamagotchi phone combines the classic virtual pet with what every kid already wants-a phone of their very own."
"Tamagotchi appeals to an electronic toy-savvy market of young people, and we thought it a natural segue to combine that with the go-anywhere fun that wireless entertainment offers," said Ron Czerny, chief executive officer at PlayPhone. "Whether it's keeping in touch with your kids or offering them wholesome entertainment options like Tamagotchi, this new prepaid mobile phone has something for everyone."