Dear kids of today and nostalgic adult-children of the ‘90s: This is not a drill. There’s a new Furby hitting the market, and it is fancy. Called the Furby Connect, this new edition connects via Bluetooth to smartphones and tablets. If you’re wondering where to buy Furby Connect, look no further. As of July 7 (today, y’all!), Furby Connect is available for pre-order exclusively from Amazon. The new Furby will also be released to retailers nationwide in the fall of 2016 — so eventually, you'll also be able to get it places other than Amazon — but, for now, the online megastore is the (virtual) place to go to get your Furby fix. Although right now it’s only up for pre-order, according to Amazon’s Furby Connect product page, buyers won’t be kept waiting for too long: Furby Connect will be become available on July 12.
So how does the Furby Connect stack up against the ‘90s original? Compared to 1998 version (and even the 2012 revival), the Furby Connect is a serious upgrade. Essentially, the Furby Connect is to the original Furby what an iPhone is to an old-school Nokia mobile: Yes, the originals were cool at the time, but the 2016 versions are approximately one billion times better.
The most immediately obvious change is, perhaps, the Furby’s appearance. To be honest, I always found Furbies in the ‘90s to be more creepy than charming, and, as Raymond Wong at Mental Floss points out, these new Furbies rest much more securely on the “cute” side of the “cute/scary” divide.
Inside their furry gerbil-bird-alien bodies, the Furby Connects are quite high-tech. This Furby has LED eyes capable of more than 150 expressions. The toy can “speak” more than a thousand phrases, and has improved movement. If you put multiple Furbies together, they can talk to each other. The little knob on the top of its head can even work as a joystick.
The Furby can connect to smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth and interact with a Furby Connect World app that offers a variety of videos and songs to users; this content, aimed at kids, updates regularly, so that there is always new stuff to watch and listen to. Because the Furby connects to the app, your toy can also interact with videos and sing along to music. In the video below, you can see a Furby Connect singing along with a music video:
Charming as these fuzzy robots are, you’ll be glad to know that these Furbies can be put to bed when you want a break from the chatter (something that you couldn’t do with previous editions). Each Furby comes with an eye mask that, when applied, puts the toy to “sleep." (You can see the mask being worn by the Furby on the right, above).
Images: Hasbro (2)