Meet the Tamagotchi mobile!

A phone built around a virtual pet? Cor!

Meet the Tamagotchi mobile!

Tamagotchi virtual pets aren't dead: they just evolved.

Forget about buying a standalone gizmo to rear your virtual friend, then, because US firms PlayPhone and Bandai America have teamed up to launch a Tamagotchi-branded mobile.

Aimed at kids (well, you probably guessed that), it's a pay-as-you-go handset due to go on sale in the States soon. It's brightly coloured and comes with a preloaded Tamagotchi mobile game, as well as a customised wallpaper.

There's also a neat feature where owners of the phone can convert their prepaid airtime minutes into 'mobile content credits' to spend on additional wallpapers, games and ringtones on the TamaPhone website – thus avoiding the use of a credit card.

"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," says Bandai America's Masao Ohata.

Does any child currently carry a separate Tamagotchi device around with them? Hmm, we're not so sure the phone would sell well in the UK. Any manufacturer wanting to tempt kids over here with the 'two gadgets in one' sales pitch would have to make a mobile phone that's also a pair of Heelys. Or a flick-knife.

Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)