ToyTalk and Mattel Release Interactive Thomas the Tank App

San Francisco-based kids’ entertainment startup ToyTalk, founded by former Pixar execs, just debuted its first product, an eight-episode app that lets children chat with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends as they go on different adventures. The app is the result of ToyTalk’s new partnership with Mattel, which owns the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise. The interactive app, which takes advantage of kids’ familiarity in speaking with virtual entities, debuts just as Thomas the Tank Engine celebrates its 70th anniversary. Continue reading ToyTalk and Mattel Release Interactive Thomas the Tank App

Will Siri Serve as the Foundation for our Next-Gen Remote Controls?

  • If consumers take to the new virtual personal assistant technology Siri, featured in Apple’s iPhone 4S, we may see significant change to other devices such as the TV remote control.
  • Norman Winarsky, VP of ventures at SRI (involved in the development of Siri), told MIT’s Technology Review that, “within a decade, virtual personal assistants would be ubiquitous, integrated into the fabric of many devices,” and that their value could hike into the 100 billion dollar level.
  • “Wouldn’t it be nice to finally do away with the remote control, a device that begins to look so clunky and antiquated in our era of iEverythings?” asks Technology Review. “Apple has not announced any plans to bring Siri to devices other than the iPhone 4S, but the idea doesn’t seem so farfetched. It’s quite possible that the next refresh of the Apple TV could use a speedier A5 dual-core chip, speculates Cult of Mac — which would give the device the processing power necessary to run Siri.”
  • According to the article, Siri offers much more than just voice recognition: “Siri is good at parsing the words you say, but more importantly, its impressive artificial intelligence is able to discern their meaning, and take appropriate actions… As smart TVs become a next battleground for Internet-connected devices, let’s hope our remote controls get smarter, too.”