The Hello Dreamhouse was announced this weekend in the Toy Fair in New York, where Mattel gave a preview to its functions. At the presentation, a spokeswoman from Mattel presented the interesting updates to the mansion, which is the home for the Hello Barbie, an interactive doll launched last year.
The iconic blonde doll can now enjoy smart updates that include Wi-Fi, embedded floors and voice commands that allow the child to give instructions to turn on and off the lights, preheat the oven, operate the elevator and even turn on the party-mode among other functions.
Voice command can be started with a simple “Hello Dreamhouse”, as the presentation showed. But it can also have room for more commands as the house could pick up bits about getting ready for school and make breakfast, which triggered the shower function and the preheating of the oven with their commands.
With the party-mode on, the house will play music and lights will start flashing all over the place. It also has a light-up and moving chandelier for a disco-feel party. The Wi-Fi connection allows users to customize lights and sounds to their will.
It was presented as a way to induce to a child-directed play, where the kids are able to decide in a not-very-usual way what to do in the house or in defect, to tell the house what to do, as reported by PCMag.
The house is expected to arrive this fall with a price tag of $300, according to Chip Chick. But the “Hello” series was not well received last year, as many parents step out claiming that the interactive barbie was a breach to their kid’s privacy.
Last year Mattel teamed up with ToyTalk to introduce to the market a Barbie never seem before, the Hello Barbie. This doll was like a virtual assistant to the user’s smartphone, and over time the doll could remember responses, store data in the cloud and get to know the user.
Many parents started to show concern over the new toy, even the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) issued a petition to stop the toy from entering the market. The CCFC was concern over the privacy of the child’s interests, families and location as well as the possibility of the doll being programed with inappropriate replies.
Others parents showed worries about security breaches or the fact that the doll could hear everything at all times. Representatives from Mattel and ToyTalk later announced in a meeting with PCMag that the doll was not always on, so she was not always listening.
For the interaction with the doll, the user had to push a button so the Hello Barbie could hear. This means that the doll was no actually able to hear everything at all times.