What's Different About the New Furby?15 years ago, a little, annoying toy took the world by storm and became the most popular toy of the holiday season. The Furby was originally launched in 1998 and featured some fairly impressive AI coupled with an animated body that made it come alive. It would annoy parents until they eventually pulled the batteries out or buried it in the back yard.

It’s now 2012, and the makers of the Furby have packed some serious technology into an updated version of the popular children’s toy. Will all this new technology make the creature more fun for kids, more annoying for adults, or both?

Let’s start by taking a close look at the features of the new Furby.

  • Ability to Learn English
  • Accelerometer
  • LCD Eyes Depicting Mood and Situation
  • Changes Personality Based on Treatment
  • Can be Fed With iOS App or Finger
  • Built-in Microphone for Conversational and Musical Stimulation
  • No On/Off or Volume Switch
  • Learns English Over Time
  • Goes to Sleep When Left Unattended
  • Sensors on Stomach, Tail, Head, and Back
  • Dances

The Furby still speaks its native tongue, Furbish. Fortunately, it learns English after a while, so kids can go through the process of actually teaching the Furby rather than just playing with it.

Sensors located all over the Furby means it will respond to physical stimulus quite readily. A built-in accelerometer allows it to sense when it’s being tossed around. Chances are, the Furby won’t be too thrilled about being kicked across the room (a natural, instinctive response from some parents).

The Furby is still quite annoying, despite its technological advances. You can’t turn the volume up or down on it, and there is no on/off switch. This means that, if you want it to be quiet, you’ve got to lock it in a closet or stick it in a dark drawer when you’re still active during the day.

At just around $60, the Furby costs as much as a typical video game. If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids entertained without driving yourself insane in the process, a video game might be a better value. Still, the Furby could very well end up being that one toy that kids really, really want this year.

Are you considering buying a Furby for yourself or your kids? Are the improvements enough to inspire a new generation of youngsters to really want it? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.