It appears that the notion of “Designer Toys” has now arrived to the AppStore. If you recall our earlier posts about Poppyâ€™s iPhoneÂ games, it is apparent that there is room in the appstore for designer apps, ie apps that hold particular design value, unique in their appearance/style and a part of the series.
Medicom, known designer toys makers are grabbing the opportunity with the introduction of “virtual” versions of their world renown Be@rbrick series. Only last night they posted 50 individual apps as a part of their W@TCH series. Each app provides a digital clock and the weather forecast including an individualÂ virtual Be@rbrick. You can touch, rotate and set position of the three-dimensional Be@rbricks using the buttons available at the bottom of the screen.
The first Be@rbrick was released 27 May 2001 as a free gift to visitors of the World Character Convention 12. Since then Be@rbricks have been released in several different sizes using a variety of materials, including wood, felt, and glow-in-the-dark plastic. Many contemporary artists and designers fromÂ Asia,Â Australia,Â Europe, andÂ North America have designed figures. Designing a Be@rbrick figure means creating a design scheme, or deco, for the standard mold. Contributors range from visual artists such as H. R. Giger toÂ illustrators such as Pushead,Â graffiti artists such as Stash, andÂ fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood. As a result of their limited production, and the participation of artists, Be@rbricks are generally considered designer toys.
Whether the digital versions will attract designer toy collectors is a whole different matter. Costing $0.99 each, the whole collection will cost you around $50 never mind the experience is very different from owning/collecting physical figures. I would have preferred to see how individual Be@rbrick designers would have addressed each app rather than just applying a different texture to each 3d model and packaging it as a whole new app. There is also something really unattractive about offering 50 versions of an app that does pretty much the same thing. I nevertheless hope Medicom will put more effort into giving each app a unique feel ie involving original designers more as this is exactly what Be@rbricks are all about.
You can see the full collection here.