Bandai's original Tamagotchi virtual pet has sold more than 40 million units worldwide, with more than 12 million in the U.S. and Canada. Not only did the original toy spur a pop culture phenomenon, but also created a new toy category and prompted countless imitations. During its peak, 15 Tamagotchi units were sold every minute in the U.S. and Canada.
Unique to the Tamagotchi prepaid mobile phone is PlayPhone's ability to convert users' prepaid airtime minutes into mobile content credits that can be used on the TamaPhone.com Web site. Kids will be able to further customize their Tamagotchi phone with popular wallpaper, ringtones and games without having to use their parent's credit card.
"The Tamagotchi phone will be the must-have accessory for every kid this summer," said Masao Ohata, vice president of Network Entertainment for Bandai America. "Instead of having two separate electronics, the Tamagotchi phone combines the classic virtual pet with what every kid already wants-a phone of their very own."