"AppMates" are known as Mobile Application Toys. For our test vehicle, the "AppMate" was a small replica of the "Lightning McQueen" car, released by Disney and Spin Master, Inc. The car measures approximately 2" long and 1" wide. It has three small sensors on the bottom of the car, and it actually races on the iPad screen.
In order to get started, you must first download an iPad application called "Cars 2 AppMates." It is free of charge. Once loaded, you are set to go. The object of the game is to explore Radiator Springs, Tokyo, which was the featured site in the actual Cars 2 animated movie. You simply place the car in the center of the screen on the road that is shown by the application. There is an outline of the car to help youngsters get started too. The sensors begin the action, and you simply grip the side windows of the car and press down slightly to activate it.
At night, headlights are visible and the sound effects are amazing throughout. There are different fuels, assorted horns, custom tires and other gadgets available as well. There is a map and missions are given to the player to make things interesting. There are other character cars available as well, and the application can recognize which car is being used and use the appropriate voice to match the car. We are honestly just scratching the surface of what you can do with this new inventive toy and application.
Our age appropriate focus group and their parents were surprised, to say the least, by "AppMates." No one had yet heard or seen them, so this was a first for everyone. Kids loved the application and the playability astounded each and every one of them. Every parent, who owned an iPad, indicated that they were going to buy one for their kids. Those who did not own an iPad, may have been pushed a bit closer to making such a purchase in the near future.
"AppMates" are recommended for children 4 years old and up, but I think even younger kids can get a feel for the basics pretty quickly. The cars are also 100% safe for the iPad screen. "AppMates" were just released in early October, and they will likely be a very hot item around Christmas trees this year. Buy them now, while you can still find them. One "AppMate" vehicle will cost anywhere from $13.00-$25.00. Check them out at Amazon.com.
-- RJ Cullen