TOYOTA MAKING TOYS FOR KIDS…OR ARE THEY?

Written by gary on August 21st, 2011
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A few articles back I mentioned that Toyota has had the kind of strife lately that would cause most companies to shut down or scream for a bailout from somewhere. But instead, Toyota is getting into the toy business with ToyToyota. Sooner or later you had to figure that Toyota, a company with toy in its name would get into the toy business. The first product is technologically sophisticated, an iPhone App for Kids called Backseat Driver.

THEY SAY IT’S FOR KIDS

The game is intended for young kids, and through the built in social layer with Twitter, players can earn points, share their high point scores, and compete with others via the game’s online ranking system. Players can use those accumulated points to customize their game rides. Backseat Driver acclimates kids to the world of technology that we now live in and perhaps Toyota is also raising the next generation for Pimp My Ride. Just kidding.

Backseat Driver in summary engaging the handset’s GPS and accelerometer to match game play with the direction and speed of the real-world car that the player is sitting in. It works like this; using the phone’s GPS, the app lets kids drive a Mama Car that follows the same route driven by their parent, while a Papa Car ahead poops little cartoon prizes that kids collect. Kids that collect enough prizes can customize their car with sparkly paint and then share their successes on Twitter. Come to think of it, things kinda roll that way for the parents too… But back to the game app, those goodies are matched to nearby landmarks in the real world. So, for example, if dad drives by a burger joint, the player may be able to roll over a hamburger and gain some points.

FOR KIDS…OR IS IT?                                       

Toyota Backseat Driver is a clever teaching aid. I wonder though if perhaps Toyota is going after the wrong market segment. Most studies show that older adults suffer from technophobia or a fear of technology. After all Mom, Dad, Granny, and Aunt Sally can’t work their TV, can’t figure out the remote control, instead of turning on the computer they end up blowing up the hard drive, and they all forgot their email address. Seems to me like a good application for Backseat Driver to the Rescue.

BACKSEAT DRIVER TO THE RESCUE

Just think about it. It might go like this; put Granny in the backseat working Backseat Driver and you take her on a road trip. She begins getting into the game snapping up little prizes and starts up a little game rivalry with arch enemy Aunt Martha. You’re driving along, Granny’s in the back seat working up a sweat with Backseat Driver when you round the bend and approach a Burger King. All of a sudden Papa Car ahead poops a Whopper and Granny takes a dive across the backseat of the car nearly causing it to flip but she lands just in time to scoop up the Whopper prize, take the lead in the game over Aunt Martha, and then send Martha a tweet.

Granny tweets Aunt Martha and says, Martha I’ve taken the lead and that’s just what you deserve for snaking my date 55 years ago you Twit!

OMG, Technology, You’ve just got to love it….

granny

granny

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