They say that dog is man’s best friend. However, as the number of smartphone users continues to grow that title may soon be challenged, especially if you consider Bandai’s newest iPhone development, Smartpet.

Using the Smartpet app, which will be released at the end of March, you can turn the iPhone’s screen into the face of a lovable pooch of several cartoonish varieties.  What’s more is if you purchase the Smartpet robot you can connect your iPhone to it and create and fully functional robotic dog.

The Smartpet toy is essentially a faceless robot dog.  By inserting your iPhone into the face cavity it assimilates in borg-like fashion to create a surprisingly charismatic puppy. The robot/phone hybrid is capable of over 100 different expressions and actions like sneezing.

Before you go scoffing at this idea, remember that Bandai is the company that enslaved a generation to their Tamagotchis draining millions of hours of productivity from children worldwide.

The one thing that may keep Smartpet from taking over like Tamagotchis, however, is the price.  At its 28 April launch, Smartpet is expected to cost 7,800 yen (US$94). It’s a pretty penny to shell out for a machine you have to feed and shampoo.

That being said, this dog is not lacking in functionality. Once his face is plugged in your puppy will sing you a song when your blue, act as an alarm to wake you up, and even charge your phone while you sleep.

Using your iPhone’s camera and microphone it can see when you wave to it or hear when you call it.  By speaking or with gestures it can follow some basic commands like a real dog.  It can even detect another Smartpet and interact with it via Bluetooth.

While our favorite canine companions can rest easy thanks to Smartpet’s high price tag, those old dogs better start learning some new trick to keep up with our mobile phones.

Source: MSN News(Japanese)
Official Website:  Bandai Smartpet  (Japanese)