Confessions of a Toy Hunter: Thumbs Up For Toy Fair 2011

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One of the best things about this show is that it wasn’t all about kids toys. There were tables of gadgets too. I must say that I didn’t expect to see so much merchandise other than toys. Everyone was represented on a level playing field. You could find anything from a $1000 slot car track to the best of $1 store toys.

I was making my final run through the showrooms and I was sequestered by a young woman to check out an 80’s style block cell phone that houses one’s iPhone.

70s Cell Phone iPhone Cover

I passed by the booth two other times during my raid of the main convention hall and decided to take a look around at the request of the young lady. They had some really great modern and retro styled gear and when I was perusing the shelves I noticed something familiar. I had seen an interesting device when I was shopping for Christmas gifts. It was a mini plunger that I thought would beckon anyone back to the Mario days, but realized it is a stand for an iDevice or Droid type smart phone. I liked it so much I bought 2, one for me and one for a friend. I made sure I told these young ladies representing Thumbs Up! that I own said device and enjoy it thoroughly. When I introduced myself and mentioned I scribe for a geek culture site, their eyes lit up with joy. “Well, we have something that might be right up your alley!”. I was brought over to a display with an item called 8 bit pixel cubes. They are rubber encased square magnets that you can manipulate into any 8 bit design.

Pixel Blocks Mario and Union Jack

You can see in the picture they made Mario and a Union Jack. I’m sure someone will conjure up a Link and Megaman to go with Mario.

iPhone Telephoto Lens

They had a number of other cool add-ons for iPhones like the Telephoto lens for the iPhone camera and a iPhone microscope.

cassette case iPhone holder

In addition to the plunger iPhone stand, they also had an old school cassette case iPhone holder (don’t mix that up with your giveaways) and a key chain tripod for a digital camera. I highly recommend checking out their products and can tell you first hand that the plunger is a great stand for my Droid.. They can be found on a number of tech and geek websites.

All that talk about iPhones brings me to a toy that I found entertaining. There was a demo of a quadricopter that was controlled by an iPhone or iPod Touch. I love r/c vehicles, but even I know that most of the time toy companies put out crappy remote control vehicles. If you want a good r/c vehicle, you usually have to invest a few hundred dollars. So maybe you can imagine my amazement when I not only witnessed a smooth flying quad rotor helicopter, but a smooth flying quad rotor helicopter controlled by an iPhone! Absolutely outrageous!

Introducing the Parrot A.R. Drone, where A.R. Stands for Augmented Reality. The A.R. Drone also has two built in cameras, one in the front and one underneath that projects where it’s going on your iPhone. The Drone is not just an r/c vehicle, is it meant to be used in conjunction with a couple of game apps that Parrot offers on the APP Store. This bad boy can be used inside or outside and has inter-changeable hulls to suit those needs. It also generates it’s own Wi-Fi network so that players can create game parties for multiple Drone games.

Toy Fair 2011: Epilogue

It was an exhausting day for me at Toy Fair. There was a lot to see and there was plenty I missed. I’m sure some of you are wondering why you didn’t see anything from me about G.I. Joe. Unfortunately, Hasbro’s showroom was located elsewhere in Manhattan. It also seemed that I needed to make an appointment to witness their injection molded triumphs. That was also the case for Mattel. While I could have easily snatched photos from another website, I wanted to deliver to you, Dear Reader, authentic Unwinnable snapshots and viewpoints. I had an awesome time and eagerly await the next convention as I build towards Toy Fair 2012!


Find out more about the iPhone Plunger by following on Twitter via @UnWInToyHunter.

Technology, Toys