When Sony put the AIBO to sleep back in January 2006 I was more angry than most (and showed it) and more than two years later as a flat dwelling Londoner you may have to excuse my unbridled enthusiasm for its rightful successor.
Designed by Caleb Chung - co-creator of the Furby - the loveable robotic baby Camarasaurus known as a 'Pleo' has been wooing hearts for some time now, but in a reaction to one too many Credit Crunch / Tumbling Stocks / Redundancies / Let's-just-call-it-a-recession-and-be done-with-it stories I'm bringing you something happy for once: the little critter is getting his Christmas Spirit on.
Thanks to their SD card slots, Pleos are adaptable fellas and PleoWorld has just launched 'Holiday Pleo' for those of you looking for some festive cheering up. The free download brings carols, hymns and the like and follows on from character mods such as 'Pleosaurus Rex' (expose its wild side), 'Watchdog' (guard-pleo mode) and 'Love-struck Pleo' (watch your back!) with more on the way.
For those not in the know, the Pleo continues from where the AIBO left off advancing the artificial life pet phenomenon with its robotic skeleton crammed full of sensors, microphones and transmitters and orientation detectors. Once 'hatched' they then develop personalities based on how they are treated and respond appropriately. Being autonomous robots they will also happily wander around on their own detecting the world around them - but leave them too long and they might get lonely!
Available for £199.99 I suggest children and adults try out a Pleo before having a pet / child - you may just think twice...
So, now back to the Credit Crunch, the collapse of the global financial markets, widespread redundancies and general economic misery. Ho hum...