The success of a mobile phone is driven more and more by how many apps are available to run on it. After all, a phone is a phone is a phone, and most phones offer the same basic features and capabilities.
But before you assume that “apps” are only meant for adults, let me assure you that many companies are consciously designing apps for children. The next big thing is to design creative ways to interact with smart devices such as iPads.
It is with this business opportunity in mind that Disney is launching Appmates, a set of physical toys which will allow children (or adults, for that matter), to interact with apps on the iPad. First off the block is a set of six Pixar’s Cars.
While the companion iPad app itself can be downloaded free, each of the cars will be sold in packs of two, priced at $19.99 (£19.99) .
These cars have a capacitive footprint, so when they are placed on the iPad, it recognises the toy, where it is positioned and the direction it is pointing in.
By pinching the two front windows of the cars, children can “drive” these cars around a virtual world. Activities included as part of this “exploration” include racing, talking with characters from Pixar’s movie “Cars” and so on. The Pixar Car Appmates will be available online and at Disney stores in the US and UK in October.
Disney views Appmates as another prong of its business strategy, and is planning to launch many more toy-like devices from its other stories and movies in the days ahead.