Wi-Fi bunny gets an upgrade: meet Nabaztag V2

Company: Violet

What is it? The Nabaztag rabbit, also known as the "Wi-Fi rabbit" or "wireless bunny" is a device that connects directly to the Internet through Wi-Fi. Version 1 was launched last year, and has developed a cult following amongst the blogosphere for its ability to do things like speak, sing, read text and move its ears. Similar to the Ambient Orb, the Nabaztag can use its features to display news, alerts, stock updates, weather reports and exchange messages.

Nabaztag bunny

The company behind the rabbit, Violet, says the device was built to show the world about "the Internet of things," that receiving information in cyberspace doesn't have to be limited to a PC and a screen. The company does this by embedding features like text-to-speech and RSS feeds into a simple object.

Why a rabbit? Rafi Haladjian, chairman of Violet, says during brainstorming sessions they spotted a plush rabbit that was sitting on his desk, and started to feel that a wireless rabbit would be the most absurd example of showing their technology. "We also thought it was funny to create the first wireless rabbit," Haladjian says. He adds this was a great way to show the features of technology to the post-PC generation.

Tool or a toy? The company insists that Nabaztag is more than a cute gadget or a robotic toy. Most buyers of the Nabaztag are in the 25- to 40-year-old demographic, Haladjian says, and the system is meant as an open platform for users to invent new uses for the device.

Meet version 2: At Demofall, the company plans to introduce Nabaztag to the United States, because many in this country haven't heard of the device yet. In addition, Version 2 will be announced, which includes speech recognition functions, to allow users to use the rabbit as an input device, or even as a push-to-talk or VoIP phone. "Everything that you can do with an audio input device you'll be able to do with V2," Haladjian says. In addition, the V2 will be able to stream audio from the Internet through the device, which allows for things like listening to podcasts or Internet radio streams. The company says V2 will launch in November and will likely cost more than the current Nabaztag, which sells for about $150.

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