Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Griffin Woogie can entertain your kids and save your iPhone

11

August

woogie_pr2_475.jpgIf you spend time with young kids you know they see the iPhone as a toy. Why is that? Well, even adults use their smartphones as toys or entertainment devices a lot of time, so they're just following our example. How many times, however, have you been asked by a toddler to give up your iPhone so they could play? Doesn't it make you nervous to fork over your precious phone? If so, you may need a Woogie.   

The Woogie by Griffin Technologies is a special case that makes your iPhone or iPod Touch toddler-safe. It's a combination stuffed animal and beanbag covered in bright green and super-plush fabric. It's six legs give it the shape of a creature that looks sort of like a six-legged starfish with an iPhone for a face. The legs can be used as handles or to prop up the Woogie for different viewing angles.

Just slip your iPhone or iPod Touch into the see-through pouch and close the end with the hook-and-loop fastener. The Woogie has two built-in speakers and you connect to them through your iPhone's headphone jack using the attached plug. The speakers are driven by two AAA batteries (included) that are kept in a hidden battery pack tucked inside one of the legs. The battery pack must be opened with a screwdriver, making it very difficult for young children to get to the batteries. The speakers are not very loud, however, so in noisy environments headphones would be a better choice for children who are old enough to wear them. In a car, for instance, I don't think the volume would be loud enough for a child to hear.

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The Woogie comes packaged with a companion iOS app that is a sampler of Sesame Street eBooks from ScrollMotion Kids (formerly Iceberg Kids). The app includes "Elmo's Birthday,""Big Bird's Nest," and "The Fix-It Shop" and reads the stories aloud while displaying the story text in two sizes. Kids and parents also can record their own voices to customize each story. More than 150 ScrollMotion Kids titles are available from the iTunes App Store.

This is a clever and cute gadget that will protect your iPhone or iPod and also make the device easier and more fun to hold. At $19.99 it's very reasonably priced and even if you don't want to buy additional eBooks you could use it with stored or streaming videos or music. You also could use if for kids' games, although game control may be a little difficult because of the thick, clear screen on the storage pouch.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 2:03pm]

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