Robotic dogs have come a long way.
Back in 1999, WowWee unleashed MEGA-BYTE The Hound Droid, “The Ultimate Pet for the 21st Century.” The chunky, blocky robot looked like something from a cartoon and wasn’t really interactive — it was an R/C toy sold at Radio Shack that boasted a then-whopping “8 Special Function Features!” and was controlled using a handheld remote.
Fast forward nearly 25 years, and now, with decades of experience and innovation behind them, WowWee — maker of Fingerlings — is back in the robotic dog space with MINTiD Dog-E. And yes, this pup truly is interactive!
Dog-E is a smart connected toy that has some expanded capabilities when used in conjunction with a free companion app for smartphones and other devices. But kids do not need to use the app to play with Dog-E, and I think that’s important to note right upfront. During the first few “connected toy” booms, I was quite critical of any toy that required an app to work or had to connect to the internet. Dog-E is fun right out of the box, no connection required!
WowWee’s MINTiD Dog-E comes in a sparkling, giftable doggie crate that has a handle on it. Once uncrated, kids should charge Dog-E using the included USB charging cable for maximum playtime. Kids can turn on their Dog-E using the switch on its belly and the “minting” process is ready to begin.
Kids can mint their Dog-E with or without the app, and save up to 10 unique personality profiles. Minting is the process through which Dog-E develops its unique traits, including the colors of its eyes and feet — and it does this through play. Little ones can pet its head to reveal its eye color, then press its nose to reveal the colors of its paws. By playing with the included doggie bone (which magnetically attaches to Dog-E’s mouth), kids can reveal Dog-E’s tail color, while touching the pup on its sides will reveal the color of its heart and unleash its playful bark.
There are more than 200 different sounds and reactions for kids to discover and the combinations feel nearly unlimited. Dog-E walks, sits, barks, and more.
One of the coolest features of Dog-E is that its tail uses persistence of vision (POV) technology to “talk” to its human companion. By wagging its tail really, really fast, LED lights have the illusion of motion as they spell out words and display graphics that appear to float. Dog-E can tell kids when it’s hungry, when it’s not feeling well, or when it needs something. There are games to play like “Bark Back, “Code Breaker,” and “Fortune Teller,” and more. I like “Ultimate Nose Boop.”
Early buzz is pegging MINTiD Dog-E as one of this holiday season’s hot toys, so if you have someone in your life that may love one, now is the time to get it! The first preorder allocation sold out quickly when released on the Dog-E website. Officially, Dog-E starts to hit stores on Oct. 1, but keep your eyes out because it’s up for preorder via Amazon and you might spot one in your favorite store in the weeks ahead!
Each Dog-E has a combination of lights, sounds, and personality traits that makes it unique. Kids can train Dog-E to do tricks, track its needs, and unlock more interactive play with the app.