ELECTRONIC TOYS: force filled This Christmas demanding battery powered toys look like providing yet another major charge to the market says Peter Robinson Electronic toys are becoming cleverer than they used to be. So if you think those terrible Furbies are a thing of the past, think again. Tiger Electronics, the leading electronic toy company, part of the US giant, Hasbro, has just launched a product which looks as if it could rival the success of the Furbie this Christmas. Poo-Chi, an interactive puppy, is already number two in the British toy charts. In a move pointing the way to the cross fertilisation between electronic computer games and toys, Tiger Electronics developed the toy with Sega in Japan. Poo-Chi looks like demanding long- term battery power. It has to be trained to become happy, so the more it is played with, by stimulating the sensors on its body, the happier it becomes. It will sing and, like the Furbie, interact with other Poo-Chis using its infra red scanner. It takes three triple AAA batteries and is similar to Furbie, but is aimed at younger children and is less complex. Emma Carle of Tiger Electronics says: "There is a decline in traditional toys and growth in electronic, interactive toys which was boosted by the success of Furbie. "Children are becoming older younger' and moving out of the toy market into areas like music and video games, therefore we have to increase the technology within our toys to make sure we can maintain their interest for as long as possible." Carle emphasises: "We base all our toys on normal high street battery sizes. We do not want to take toys to the level where they need specialist batteries pricing toys out of the market and making it more difficult for consumers to get the right kind of battery." As usual batteries are not included' ­ which creates further Christmas opportunities for battery suppliers in toy retail outlets. Electronic toys are becoming more complex and expensive with greater high drain battery demands. For example in Japan there is Aibo, a robot dog retailing at a mere £1,600, which duplicates the behaviour of a real dog. Manufacturers are battling to bring that degree of technology at a price the mass market can afford. As Christmas approaches, Tiger Electronics will be bringing out another intelligent' dog, a dalmatian to coincide with the film release of Disney's 102 Dalmatians and bringing other more advanced dogs onto the market. It looks as though the electronic dog could replace domestic pets in children's affections with a commensurate effect on battery demand. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}